Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed an annual economic forum in Saint Petersburg, acknowledging that the event has dwindled in size since Russia's military actions in Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions.
During his speech, Putin asserted that the previous neo-colonial system of international relations has dissipated, giving way to a strengthening multipolar global order, a development he views as inevitable.
Putin has been critical of the United States' predominance in international politics and has portrayed Russia's actions in Ukraine as a confrontation against the West. He accused Western nations of refusing dialogue with Russia but suggested that future talks might be possible.
Regarding Russia's economy, Putin admitted that the second quarter of the previous year was the most challenging due to extensive Western sanctions. However, he asserted that the strategies adopted by both the state and Russian businesses had ultimately proved effective.
Putin also mentioned that approximately half of the Russians who had left the country following the Ukraine crisis had returned, with the repatriation process ongoing. He mentioned that many Russians were residing in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, emphasizing the importance of individual choice in determining where to live.
This year's forum was themed "The sovereign development is the foundation of a just world," and some media outlets, including AFP and those considered "unfriendly" by the Kremlin, were not accredited to cover the event.