(CNS News) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former lieutenant colonel in the KGB, strongly criticized the "woke," social justice warriors in the United States and Europe, arguing that they behave just like the Bolshevik Communists did in the former Soviet Union.
They are ruled by a "dogmatism bordering on absurdity," he asserted, noting that "cancel culture" is nothing more than "reverse discrimination," and teaching children that sexuality is flexible is potentially "a crime against humanity."
In his Oct. 22 speech in Sochi, Russia, before members of the Valdai Discussion Club, Putin addressed some of the major issues affecting the entire world, such as the COVID pandemic, climate change, technological advances, and socio-economic challenges.
When it comes to change, however, Putin said he was surprised at the "social and cultural shocks that are taking place in the United States and Western Europe." He stressed that these changes are none of Russia's business, "we are keeping out of this," but explained that he had seen such disastrous social upheaval before -- in the Soviet Union.
"We look in amazement at the processes underway in the countries which have been traditionally looked at as the standard-bearers of progress," said Putin. "Some people in the West believe that an aggressive elimination of entire pages from their own history, 'reverse discrimination' against the majority in the interests of a minority, and the demand to give up the traditional notions of mother, father, family and even gender, they believe that all of these are the mileposts on the path towards social renewal."
"We have a different viewpoint, at least the overwhelming majority of Russian society – it would be more correct to put it this way – has a different opinion on this matter," he said. "We believe that we must rely on our own spiritual values, our historical tradition and the culture of our multiethnic nation."
"The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness," said Putin. "The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already."
"After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society," said Putin.
He continued, "The destruction of age-old values, religion and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones – all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today."
"By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs," he added.
"This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now," said Putin. "Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices, which we, fortunately, have left, I hope, in the distant past.
"The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past – such as Shakespeare – are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race.
"In Hollywood memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
"Countering acts of racism is a necessary and noble cause, but the new ‘cancel culture’ has turned it into ‘reverse discrimination’ that is, reverse racism. The obsessive emphasis on race is further dividing people, when the real fighters for civil rights dreamed precisely about erasing differences and refusing to divide people by skin color.
"I specifically asked my colleagues to find the following quote from Martin Luther King: 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.' This is the true value. However, things are turning out differently there. ...
"In a number of Western countries, the debate over men’s and women’s rights has turned into a perfect phantasmagoria. Look, beware of going where the Bolsheviks once planned to go – not only communalizing chickens, but also communalizing women. One more step and you will be there.
"Zealots of these new approaches even go so far as to want to abolish these concepts altogether. Anyone who dares mention that men and women actually exist, which is a biological fact, risk being ostracized. 'Parent number one' and 'parent number two,' 'birthing parent' instead of 'mother,' and 'human milk' replacing 'breastmilk' because it might upset the people who are unsure about their own gender.
"I repeat, this is nothing new; in the 1920s, the so-called Soviet Kulturtraegers also invented some newspeak believing they were creating a new consciousness and changing values that way. And, as I have already said, they made such a mess it still makes one shudder at times. [Emphasis added.]
"Not to mention some truly monstrous things when children are taught from an early age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa. That is, the teachers actually impose on them a choice we all supposedly have.
"They do so while shutting the parents out of the process and forcing the child to make decisions that can upend their entire life. They do not even bother to consult with child psychologists – is a child at this age even capable of making a decision of this kind?
"Calling a spade a spade, this verges on a crime against humanity, and it is being done in the name and under the banner of progress."
Vladimir Putin, 69, has served as president of Russia since 2012. He also was president from 2000 to 2008. According to Statista, Putin's job approval rating in September 2021 was 64% -- disapproval at 34%.
Putin served in the KGB, the USSR's intelligence branch, from 1975 to 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. In 1999, Putin described communism as "a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization."
According to the Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press), the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin killed at least 20 million people for political reasons.
However, Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), author of the The Gulag Archipelago and other books about life under Soviet rule, estimated that about 60 million Russians were killed for political reasons.