In a profile on Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, Russia’s top national security body, Filip Kovačević writes:
Patrushev’s ideological influence on Putin has become more evident over time. While Putin still espoused some elements of a liberal worldview in the mid-2000s, Patrushev clearly signaled his preference for what he called “traditional values” as early as 2000. These values are premised on the creation of an anti-liberal, “multipolar” world in which Russia’s sphere of influence would expand dramatically, which Patrushev has referred to in numerous interviews with Russian state media over the years.
In a 2015 interview, Patrushev claimed that “the formation of a multipolar world” was the only way to restrain what he perceived as the liberal hegemony of the West. He proudly stressed that Russia was the main antagonist to the Western liberal world order and warned that Russia would leave nothing off the table when pushing for its geopolitical interests abroad.
Patrushev has used his frequent contacts with non-Western counterparts to spread his anti-Western gospel. His December 2021 visit to Indonesia and Cambodia was his most recent trip tailored for this purpose.
The culmination of Patrushev’s decadeslong public and behind-the-scenes agitation against the Western world is Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
In the months preceding the invasion, Patrushev amplified his anti-American conspiracy theories to its highest pitch, attempting to provide justification for Russia’s activities. In September 2021, on state-run Radio Sputnik, he asserted that the U.S. was conducting covert biowarfare against the citizens of the former Soviet republics. “The biological laboratories opened by Washington … are a threat to the health of tens of millions of people.”
In November 2021, he stated that “the appearance of deadly viruses and pandemics is caused by lab experiments with pathogens,” implying that the Western laboratories he had mentioned in September were to blame. According to Patrushev, some of these laboratories were operating in Ukraine, and he appeared to suggest that their work had to be stopped no matter what the cost.
At the same time, Patrushev also launched a conspiracy theory against the use of renewable energy, which Western nations view as fundamental to sustainable and climate-friendly economic and environmental policies in the decades to come. Patrushev claimed that these sources are “not fully safe for the environment and, in some cases, have a negative impact on nature itself.” The healthiest choice for the world, Patrushev asserts, is to keep buying Russian oil and gas. [Continue reading…]