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Russia opens an enormous nationwide exposition as presidential election approaches

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MOSCOW — With pointed disdain for the West, Russia on Saturday unveiled a sprawling exposition highlighting the nation’s accomplishments, which can run by way of the months resulting in the presidential election during which Vladimir Putin is extensively anticipated to hunt a brand new time period.

Putin issued a decree in March to carry the exposition and a few observers have seen it as geared toward creating an ideological framework for his reelection. Information experiences had steered he may use the opening to announce his candidacy for the March election, however his spokesman later stated he wouldn’t attend the occasion.

Putin has led Russia as president or prime minister since 2000, and reelection would lengthen his time period till 2030.

The occasion is held at VDNKh, the huge exposition grounds in northern Moscow that was established by Josef Stalin and is famend for its assortment of elaborate Soviet Gothic-style pavilions. The setting performs to many Russians’ nostalgia for the Soviet period and echoes Putin’s drive to revive Russia as a superpower.

Thematically, the exposition focuses on Russia as a rustic of various ethnic teams and cultures unified by a way of nationwide function. It contains shows from every of Russia’s areas, in addition to from the Luhansk and Donetsk areas of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed, together with an array of displays on trade, training and expertise will likely be on provide.

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It additionally attracts on the view of Russia being in a civilizational battle, an idea that has been in forefront of official discourse since Russia despatched troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

“Any provocations and aggressive actions directed in opposition to Russia are doomed to failure. As a result of we’re a single folks, sure by a typical historical past, fraternal bonds of friendship and mutual understanding,” Putin stated in a message marking the opening of the exposition.

In a speech on the present’s opening day, Putin’s shut ally Nikolai Patrushev, head of the nationwide safety council, amplified the concept.

“In distinction to the West, Russia has provided a civilizational selection based mostly on preserving nationwide sovereignty, mutual respect, equal partnership, conventional household values, safety of spiritual foundations and the rights of believers, in addition to usually accepted norms of morality, ethics and social conduct,” he stated.

“Traditionally, Russia has at all times been a bone within the throat of the West, interfering with the implementation of its hegemonic plans,” Patrushev stated.

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