Russian president Vladimir Putin used his annual address to both chambers of parliament to defend the country's anti-LGBT laws and bans on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
Putin spoke to lawmakers, judges, and lawyers gathered on the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution Thursday, lamenting what he called the revision of moral norms, brought about by the influence of Western ideology.
Dispalying his national pride, Putin said that Russia does not "claim the status of any superpower," nor does the nation "impose our patronage, [and we] do not try to teach anyone how to live," according to Queer Russia's translation.
The former KGB leader and three-term president contended it is "absolutely objective and understandable for a country like Russia, with its great history and culture," to reject "so-called tolerance, being genderless and fruitless."
Putin went on to bemoan the modern standard of morality that not only requires the recognition of individual "freedom of conscience, political views, and privacy, but also is obliged to recognize equality, as it may seem strange, of the good and the evil, in the sense of opposing topics."
Putin said such "top-down destruction of traditional values" inevitably leads to "negative consequences for societies, but is also fundamentally undemocratic as enforced on the basis of abstract ideas, against the will of the majority which does not accept the changes taking place and the proposed revision."
"We know that in the world more and more people are supporting our position on the defense of traditional values," said Putin, according to the Queer Russia translation. "Which for ages have been a spiritual and moral basis of civilization and every nation: the traditional family values, true human life, including religious life, not only material but also spiritual life, values of humanity and diversity of the world.
The 70-minute speech, delivered from an ornate hall inside Moscow's Kremlin and broadcast on national television and radio, touched on a wide variety of topics, including the ongoing conflict in Syria and political unrest in Ukraine as well as the developing nuclear situation in Iran. But according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian, the bulk of Putin's address was dedicated to the struggling Russian economy, accompanied by an optimistic announcement that Russia's population has registered a net growth for the first time since 1991.