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Mr. Yanukovych “has been playing the game, trying to see how much he can extract from Europe versus Moscow, and he may find himself in a position in which he ultimately doesn’t get what he wants from Moscow, and maybe not elsewhere either.”

Battle of values

Mr. Putin, in his 70-minute address, appeared to broaden the competition between Russia and the West to the area of values.

He portrayed himself as a protector of conservative values and offered scathing criticism of the West in part to shore up his domestic support base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees against mounting criticism from the urban middle class. But his speech also was pitched to conservatives worldwide.

“Many countries today are reviewing moral norms and erasing national traditions and distinctions between nationalities and cultures,” Mr. Putin said. “The society is now required to demonstrate not only the sensible recognition of everyone’s right to freedom of conscience, political outlook and private life, but also the mandatory recognition of the equivalence of good and evil, no matter how odd that may seem.”

He argued that the “destruction of traditional values from the top” in countries he did not identify is “inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.”

Without naming any specific country, he blasted “attempts to enforce allegedly more progressive development models” on other nations, saying they have led only to “decline, barbarity and big blood” in the Middle East and North Africa.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.