Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misquoted by social media users as saying in a 2013 speech that Western nations are controlled by “Satanic paedophiles”. While Putin did mention Satan and paedophilia on separate occasions, both words were used in different contexts.
The claim has been repeated online since at least 2017 (here), resurfacing again in June (here). It stems from Putin’s 2013 speech to the Valdai Discussion Club in which he generally criticises Western values and practices (here).
Social media users resharing the clip quote Putin as saying the “West is controlled by satanic paedophiles”. This is written alongside another alleged quotation: “People are seriously thinking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia.”
While the latter is an authentic translation of a portion of the speech, the former, referring to Satanic paedophiles, is not (here). In fact, Reuters was unable to find any public record of the Russian president making such a statement in any of his speeches, which are published on the Kremlin website (here).
Prof. Angela Stent, the director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University (here), told Reuters via email that she had also never heard Putin make such a comment. She attended the Valdai Discussion Club event.
During this speech, Putin said: “We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious, and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.”
This type of rhetoric is common from the Russian government, said Stent. She told Reuters: “In general, the official Kremlin view is that the West, because of its commitment to LGBTQ rights, is no longer Christian and Russia is the only truly Christian country.”
She added that Russian rhetoric also “tends to conflate the LGBTQ community with paedophiles.”
In a separate section of his speech, Putin continued: “The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia” (the same quotation referenced in social media posts).
This quotation is likely a reference to Vereniging Martijn, the former Dutch association that advocated for paedophilia to be accepted (here). Putin had criticised the association during his visit to Amsterdam a month prior to his speech (here).
The Netherlands Supreme Court banned the association in 2014 (here).
False. Vladimir Putin did not say the West is controlled by Satanic paedophiles. He mentioned Satan and paedophilia at separate points in a 2013 speech – but both words were used in different contexts.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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