Donald Tusk takes a stand for European liberal democracy after Putin interview

PUBLISHED: 11:34 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:44 28 June 2019

EU Council president Donald Tusk, pictured here in 2018, has hit back at Vladimir Putin's attack on liberal democracy. Picture Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

EU Council president Donald Tusk, pictured here in 2018, has hit back at Vladimir Putin's attack on liberal democracy. Picture Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Donald Tusk has struck back against "authoritarianism, personality cults, and the rule of oligarchs", after Vladimir Putin declared liberalism "obsolete".

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The European Council president spoke out after the Russian president declared the death of the "liberal idea" in an interview with the Financial Times.

"The global stage cannot become an arena where the stronger will dictate their conditions to the weaker, where egoism will dominate over solidarity, and where nationalistic emotions will dominate over common sense," said Tusk in response.

He said Europeans will "firmly and univocally defend and promote liberal democracy".

"Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete, also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete," he added

The comments were made prior to the G20 summit in Osaka.

Having visited survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings, he said he had promised to bring words of warning to the G20 participants about the price of global conflict.

"What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs," said Tusk.

The Russian president had claimed in his FT interview that admitting over one million refugees and protecting their rights "presupposes ... that migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity," he said, echoing the populist sentiments of Trump and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán.

He denied covertly aiding the rise of populism and the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal on British soil.

He told the FT that the "liberal idea" had outlived its purpose, suggesting that it had been "dictated" to the people.

Watchdog Human Rights Watch has noted Putin's crackdown on political opposition around the 2018 elections that returned him to power, particularly the stifling of criticism online and the suppression of opposition candidate Alexei Navalny.

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