Vladimir Putin sought to cast Russia as the moral arbiter of the world on Thursday, as he hit out at America's 'non-traditional values' and its influence across the world.
In an annual state of the nation address, the 61-year-old Russian president said his country did not aspire to be some kind of superpower.
'We do not infringe on anyone's interests, we do not force our patronage on anyone, or try to teach anyone how to live,' he said.
His comments amounted to an oblique rebuttal to the growing international movement against Russia's restrictive laws on homosexuality. Support for a boycott of Russia in the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games has widened with celebrities including Sir Elton John announcing they will not perform in Russia. Others including Joachim Gauck, the German president, have declined invitations for the event.
Mr Putin defended his government's increasingly conservative values and decried the 'review of norms of morality' in the West and elsewhere.
In the view of the events in Ukraine and the earlier support for Syrian President Assad - putting things upside down is Putin's trite trick.
pr-controlled.com / Telegraph