On the platform of the Valdai Club, we have talked more than once about those shifts – serious, big shifts that have already taken place and are taking place in the world, about the risks that are associated with the degradation of world institutions, with the erosion of the principles of collective security, with the substitution of international law for the so-called rules – I wanted to say, it’s clear who invented it, but, perhaps, this is also inaccurate – it’s generally not clear who invented it, what these rules are based on, what is inside these rules.

Apparently, there is only an attempt to approve one rule, so that those in power – now they are talking about power, I’m talking about global power – have the opportunity to live without any rules at all and they are allowed to do everything, everything would get away with whatever they do . Here, in fact, are these very rules, which, as the people say, they constantly talk about to us, that is, they constantly talk about it.

The value of the Valdai discussions lies in the fact that a variety of assessments and forecasts are heard here. How true they were, life itself shows, the most strict and objective examiner is life. Here it shows how correct our preliminary discussions were in previous years.

Alas, events are still developing according to a negative scenario, which we spoke about more than once or twice during previous meetings. Moreover, these events have developed into a large-scale, systemic crisis, and not only in the military-political, but also in the economic and humanitarian spheres.

The so-called West – conditionally, of course, there is no unity there – it is clear that this is a very complex conglomerate, nevertheless, let’s say that this West has taken a number of steps to escalate in recent years and especially in recent months. As a matter of fact, they always play to exacerbate, there is nothing new here either. This is the incitement of war in Ukraine, these are provocations around Taiwan, the destabilization of the world food and energy markets. The latter, of course, was not done on purpose, there is no doubt about it, but due to a number of systemic errors of precisely those Western authorities that I have already mentioned. And as we see now, plus to this is the destruction of pan-European gas pipelines. This is generally a transcendent thing, but nevertheless we are witnessing these sad events.

Power over the world is exactly what the so-called West has staked in its game. But this game is certainly dangerous, bloody and, I would say, dirty. It denies the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their originality and uniqueness, does not put the interests of other states in anything. In any case, if it is not directly stated about denial, but in practice this is precisely what is being carried out. No one, except those who formulate these very rules that I mentioned, has the right to original development: everyone else must be “combed” to these very rules.

In this regard, let me remind you of Russia’s proposals to Western partners to build confidence and build a system of collective security. In December of last year, they were once again simply thrown aside.

But in the modern world, it is unlikely to sit out. He who sows the wind, as they say, will reap the whirlwind. The crisis has indeed acquired a global character, it affects everyone. There is no need to harbor any illusions.

Humanity now has, in fact, two ways: either to continue to accumulate a burden of problems that will inevitably crush us all, or to try together to find solutions, albeit imperfect, but working, capable of making our world more stable and safer.

You know, I have always believed and believe in the power of common sense. Therefore, I am convinced that sooner or later both the new centers of a multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about a common future for us, and the sooner the better, of course. And in this regard, I will outline some of the most important accents for all of us.

Today’s events have relegated environmental problems to the background – oddly enough, but I would like to start with this. Climate change is no longer at the top of the agenda. But these fundamental challenges have not disappeared, they have not gone away, they are only growing.

One of the most dangerous consequences of the violation of the ecological balance is the reduction of biodiversity in nature. And now I turn to the main topic, for which we all gathered: is another diversity less important – cultural, social, political, civilizational?

At the same time, simplification, the erasure of all and any differences have become almost the essence of the modern West. What is behind this simplification? First of all, this is the disappearance of the creative potential of the West itself and the desire to restrain, block the free development of other civilizations.

There is also a direct mercantile interest, of course: by imposing their values, consumer stereotypes, unification, our opponents – I will call them so carefully – are trying to expand markets for their products. Everything is very primitive on this track. It is no coincidence that the West claims that it is its culture and worldview that should be universal. If this is not said directly – although they are also often said directly – but if they are not said directly, then this is how they behave and insist that, in fact, in the fact of life, with their policy, they insist that these very values ​​be unconditionally accepted by all other participants in international communication.

I will quote from the famous Harvard speech of Alexander Isaevich Solzhenitsyn. As early as 1978, he noted that the West is characterized by a “continuous blindness of superiority” – and this is still happening – which “supports the notion that all vast areas on our planet should develop and develop to the current Western systems …”. 1978 Nothing has changed.

Over the past nearly half a century, this blindness that Solzhenitsyn spoke of – openly racist and neo-colonial in nature – has taken on simply ugly forms, especially after the emergence of the so-called unipolar world. What do I want to say to this? Confidence in one’s infallibility is a very dangerous state: it is one step away from the desire of the “infallible” themselves to simply destroy those they do not like. As they say, “cancel” – let’s at least think about the meaning of this word.

Even at the height of the Cold War, at the peak of the confrontation between systems, ideologies and military rivalry, it never even occurred to anyone to deny the very existence of culture, art, science of other peoples – their opponents. It didn’t even cross anyone’s mind! Yes, certain restrictions were imposed on educational, scientific, cultural and, unfortunately, sports ties. Nevertheless, both the Soviet and American leaders of that time had enough understanding that the humanitarian sphere must be treated delicately, studying and respecting the opponent, sometimes borrowing something from him in order to preserve, at least for the future, the basis for sound, fruitful relations.

And now what is happening? At one time, the Nazis reached the point of burning books, and now Western “guardians of liberalism and progress” have fallen to the prohibitions of Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky. The so-called cancel culture, but in fact – we have already talked about this many times – the real cancel culture mows down everything that is alive and creative, does not allow free thought to develop in any of the areas: neither in economics, nor in politics, nor in culture.

The very liberal ideology today has changed beyond recognition. If initially classical liberalism understood the freedom of every person as the freedom to say what you want, to do what you want, then already in the 20th century liberals began to declare that the so-called open society has enemies – it turns out that an open society has enemies – and the freedom of such enemies can and should be limited, if not abolished. Now they have reached the point of absurdity, when any alternative point of view is declared subversive propaganda and a threat to democracy.

Whatever comes from Russia is all the “intrigues of the Kremlin”. But look at yourself! Are we all that powerful? Any criticism of our opponents – any! – is perceived as “the machinations of the Kremlin”, “the hand of the Kremlin”. This is some nonsense. What have you fallen to? At least move your brains, state something more interesting, state your point of view somehow conceptually. It is impossible to blame everything on the machinations of the Kremlin.

All this was prophetically predicted by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky back in the 19th century. One of the characters in his novel The Possessed, the nihilist Shigalev, described the bright future he invented in this way: “leaving boundless freedom, I conclude with boundless despotism” – this, by the way, is what our Western opponents came to. He is echoed by another protagonist of the novel – Peter Verkhovensky, arguing that widespread betrayal, denunciation, espionage is necessary, that society does not need talents and higher abilities: “Cicero’s tongue is cut off, Copernicus’s eyes are gouged out, Shakespeare is stoned.” This is what our Western opponents are coming to. What is this if not the modern Western culture of cancellation?

There were great thinkers, and I am grateful, to be honest, to my assistants who found these quotes.

What can be said about this? History, of course, will put everything in its place and cancel not the greatest works of the universally recognized geniuses of world culture, but those who today for some reason decided that they have the right to dispose of this world culture at their own discretion. The self-conceit of such figures, as they say, goes off scale, but no one will even remember their names in a few years. And Dostoevsky will live like Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, no matter how much anyone wants it.

It was on unification, on financial and technological monopoly, on the erasure of all and all kinds of differences, that the Western model of globalization, neo-colonial in its essence, was also built. The task was clear – to strengthen the unconditional dominance of the West in the world economy and politics, and for this to put at the service of natural and financial resources, intellectual, human and economic opportunities of the entire planet, to do this under the sauce of the so-called new global interdependence.

Here I would like to recall another Russian philosopher – Alexander Alexandrovich Zinoviev, whose centenary we will celebrate just the other day, on October 29. Even more than 20 years ago, he said that for the survival of Western civilization at the level reached by it, “the whole planet is necessary as an environment for existence, all the resources of mankind are necessary.” That’s what they claim, and that’s exactly what it is.

Moreover, in this system, the West initially laid a huge head start for itself, since it developed its principles and mechanisms itself – as now the very principles that they constantly talk about and which are an incomprehensible “black hole”: what it is – no one knows. But as soon as the benefits of globalization began to be derived not by Western countries, but by other states, and above all, of course, we are talking about the large states of Asia, the West immediately changed or completely canceled many rules. And the so-called sacred principles of free trade, economic openness, equal competition, even the right to property were suddenly forgotten at once, completely. As soon as something becomes profitable for themselves, they change the rules immediately, on the go, in the course of the game.

Or another example of the substitution of concepts and meanings. Western ideologists and politicians have been saying and repeating to the whole world for many years: there is no alternative to democracy. True, they were talking about the Western, so-called liberal model of democracy. All other options and forms of democracy they scornfully and – I want to emphasize this – through the lip, arrogantly rejected. This manner has developed a long time ago, since colonial times: everyone is considered second-class people, and themselves are exceptional. And so it continues for centuries to this day.

But today the absolute majority of the world community demands democracy in international affairs and does not accept any form of authoritarian dictate by individual countries or groups of states. What is this if not the direct application of the principles of democracy at the level of international relations?

And what is the position of the “civilized” – in quotation marks – West? If you are a democrat, then it would seem that you should welcome such a natural desire for freedom of billions of people – but no! The West calls it a subversion of the liberal rules-based order, launches economic and trade wars, sanctions, boycotts, color revolutions, prepares and conducts all sorts of coups.

One of them led to tragic consequences in Ukraine in 2014 – they supported it, they even said how much money they spent on this coup. In general, they are simply dumbfounded, they are not shy about anything. They took Soleimani and killed an Iranian general. It was possible to treat Soleimani as you like, but this is an official of another state! They killed on the territory of a third country and said: yes, we killed. What is it in general? Where do we live?

Out of habit, Washington continues to call the current world order American-style liberal, but in fact, every day this notorious “order” multiplies chaos and, I might add, becomes more and more intolerant even towards the Western countries themselves, towards their attempts to show any independence. Everything is suppressed right on the vine, and they impose more sanctions against their own allies – without any hesitation! And they agree with everything, lowering their heads low.

For example, the July proposals of the Hungarian parliamentarians to consolidate the commitment to European Christian values ​​and culture in the EU treaty were perceived not even as a fronde, but as a direct hostile sabotage. What is this? What does it mean? Yes, some people like it, some people don’t.

For a thousand years, we in Russia have developed a unique culture of interaction between all world religions. There is no need to cancel anything: neither Christian values, nor Islamic, nor Jewish values. We have other world religions. We just need to be respectful to each other. In a number of regions of the country – I just know this firsthand – people walk together, celebrate Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and Jewish holidays, and do it with pleasure, congratulating each other and rejoicing for each other.

But not here. Why not? At least they would discuss. Marvelous!

All this, without exaggeration, is not even a systemic, but a doctrinal crisis of the neoliberal model of the American world order. They have no ideas of creation and positive development, they simply have nothing to offer the world, except to maintain their dominance.

I am convinced that real democracy in a multipolar world first of all presupposes the possibility for any nation – I want to emphasize this – for any society, any civilization, to choose its own path, its own socio-political system. If the United States, the EU countries have such a right, then, of course, the countries of Asia, the Islamic states, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, and the states of other continents also have this right. Of course, our country, Russia, also has it, and no one will ever be able to dictate to our people what kind of society and on what principles we should build.

A direct threat to the political, economic, ideological monopoly of the West is that alternative social models may arise in the world – more effective, I want to emphasize this, more effective today, bright, attractive than those that exist. But such models will definitely develop – this is inevitable. By the way, American political scientists, experts, they write about it directly. True, their government is not yet listening very much, although they cannot fail to see these ideas that are expressed on the pages of political science magazines and in discussions.

Development should go exactly in the dialogue of civilizations, based on spiritual and moral values. Yes, different civilizations have a different understanding of a person, his nature – it is often only different on the surface, but everyone recognizes the highest dignity and spiritual essence of a person. And it is extremely important to have a common, common foundation on which we can certainly build and must build our future.

What do I want to emphasize here? Traditional values ​​are not some fixed set of postulates that everyone must adhere to. Of course not. Their difference from the so-called neo-liberal values ​​is that in each case they are unique, because they follow from the tradition of a particular society, its culture and historical experience. Therefore, traditional values ​​cannot be imposed on anyone – they must simply be respected, carefully treated with what every nation has chosen for centuries.

This is our understanding of traditional values, and this approach is shared and accepted by the majority of humanity. This is natural, because it is the traditional societies of the East, Latin America, Africa, Eurasia that form the basis of world civilization.

Respect for the peculiarities of peoples and civilizations is in the interests of everyone. In fact, this is also in the interests of the so-called West. Losing its dominance, it quickly becomes a minority on the world stage. And, of course, the right of this Western minority to their own cultural identity, of course, I want to emphasize this, must be ensured, it must be treated, of course, with respect, but, I emphasize, on an equal footing with the rights of everyone else.

If Western elites think they can inject into the minds of their people, their societies, strange, in my opinion, newfangled trends like dozens of genders and gay pride parades, then so be it. Let them do what they want! But what they certainly have no right to do is to require others to follow in the same direction.

We see that complex demographic, political and social processes are going on in Western countries. Of course, this is their internal affair. Russia does not interfere in these issues and is not going to do it – unlike the West, we do not climb into someone else’s yard. But we hope that pragmatism will prevail and that Russia’s dialogue with the genuine, traditional West, as well as with other equal centers of development, will become an important contribution to building a multipolar world order.

I will add that multipolarity is a real, and in fact, the only chance for the same Europe to restore its political and economic subjectivity. To be honest, we all understand, and they speak about it in the same Europe directly: today this legal personality of Europe – how to put it mildly, so as not to offend anyone – is very limited.

The world is inherently diverse, and the attempts of the West to drive everyone under one template are objectively doomed, nothing will come of it.

The arrogant desire for world leadership, and in fact, for dictatorship or for the preservation of leadership through dictate, in fact, turns into a decrease in the international authority of the leaders of the Western world, including the United States, and an increase in distrust in their ability to negotiate as a whole. Today they say one thing – tomorrow another, they sign documents – tomorrow they refuse them, they do what they want. There is no stability at all. It is completely incomprehensible how the documents are signed, what they talked about, what one can hope for.

If earlier only a few countries allowed themselves to argue with the same America, and it looked almost like a sensation, now it is already commonplace when various states refuse Washington its unfounded demands, despite the fact that it is still trying to put pressure on everyone . An erroneous policy is absolutely, simply nowhere. Well, let it be their choice too.

I am convinced that the peoples of the world will not turn a blind eye to the policy of coercion, which has discredited itself, and every time the West will have to pay and pay more and more for trying to maintain its hegemony. In the place of these elites in the West, I would seriously think about such a prospect, just as some political scientists and politicians in the United States themselves are thinking about it, as I have already said.

In the current conditions of a tough conflict, I will say a few things directly. Russia, being an independent, original civilization, has never considered and does not consider itself an enemy of the West. Americanophobia, Anglophobia, Francophobia, Germanophobia – these are the same forms of racism as Russophobia and anti-Semitism – however, like any manifestations of xenophobia.

You just need to clearly understand that there are, as I said before, two West – at least two, and maybe more, but at least two: the West of traditional, primarily Christian, values, freedom, patriotism, the richest culture, now, Islamic values ​​too – a significant part of the population of many Western countries profess Islam. This West is close to us in some ways, we have many things in common, even ancient roots. But there is another West – aggressive, cosmopolitan, neo-colonial, acting as a tool of the neo-liberal elites. Russia, of course, will never put up with the dictates of this West.

In 2000, after being elected President, what I faced, I will always remember this – remember what price we paid for destroying the terrorist nest in the North Caucasus, which the West then practically openly supported. All adults here, most of you present in this hall, understand what I am talking about. We know that this is how it was in practice: financial, political, informational support. We have all experienced it.

Moreover, [the West] not only actively supported terrorists on Russian territory, but also nurtured this threat in many ways. We know it. Nevertheless, after the stabilization of the situation, when the main terrorist gangs were defeated, thanks also to the courage of the Chechen people, we decided not to look back, not to pretend to be offended, to go forward, to build relationships even with those who actually worked against us, to establish and develop relations with all who want it, on the basis of mutual benefit and respect for each other.

I thought it was in the general interest. Russia, thank God, survived all the difficulties of that time, withstood, strengthened itself, coped with internal and external terrorism, the economy survived, began to develop, and its defense capability began to increase. We tried to build relations with the leading countries of the West and with NATO. The message was the same: let’s stop being enemies, let’s live together, let’s have a dialogue, build trust, and hence peace. We were absolutely sincere, I want to emphasize this, we clearly understood the complexity of such a rapprochement, but we went for it.

And what did we get in return? In short, we received a “no” in all the main areas of possible cooperation. We have received ever-increasing pressure on us and the creation of hotbeds of tension at our borders. And what is the purpose, if I may ask, of this pressure? Well, what? It’s that easy to train, isn’t it? Of course not. The goal is to make Russia more vulnerable. The goal is to turn Russia into a tool for achieving its own geopolitical goals.

Strictly speaking, this is a universal rule: they try to turn everyone into a tool in order to use these tools for their own purposes. And those who do not submit to this pressure, do not want to be such an instrument – sanctions are imposed against them, all kinds of economic restrictions are carried out against them and in relation to them, coups are being prepared or, where it is possible to carry out, carried out, and so on. And in the end, if nothing can be done at all, there is only one goal – to destroy, to brush it off the political map. But it did not work out and will never be able to deploy and implement such a scenario in relation to Russia.

What else would you like to add? Russia does not challenge the elites of the West – Russia simply defends its right to exist and develop freely. At the same time, we ourselves are not going to become some kind of new hegemon. Russia does not propose to replace unipolarity with bipolarity, tripolarity, and so on, the dominance of the West with the dominance of the East, North or South. This would inevitably lead to a new impasse.

And I want to quote here the words of the great Russian philosopher Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky, who believed that progress does not consist in everyone going in the same direction, as some of our opponents are pushing us – in this case, progress would soon stop, says Danilevsky, – but is to “produce the entire field, which is the field of the historical activity of mankind, in all directions.” And he adds that no civilization can be proud to represent the highest point of development.

I am convinced that dictatorship can only be countered by the freedom of development of countries and peoples, the degradation of the individual – love for a person as a creator, primitive simplification and prohibitions – the flourishing complexity of cultures and traditions.

The meaning of today’s historical moment lies precisely in the fact that all civilizations, states and their integration associations really open up opportunities for their own, democratic, original path of development. And above all, we believe that the new world order should be based on law and right, be free, original and fair.

Thus, the world economy and trade should become more fair and open. Russia considers inevitable the process of formation of new international financial platforms, including for the purposes of international settlements. Such platforms should be outside national jurisdictions, be secure, depoliticized, automated and not depend on any single control center. Is it possible to do this or not? Of course yes. It will take a lot of effort, combining the efforts of many countries, but it can be done.

This will rule out the possibility of abuse in the new global financial infrastructure, and will make it possible to effectively, profitably and safely manage international transactions without the dollar and other so-called reserve currencies. Moreover, using the dollar as a weapon, the United States and the West as a whole discredited the institution of international financial reserves. First, he devalued them due to inflation in the dollar and euro zone, and then completely – tsap-scratch – pocketed our gold and foreign exchange reserves.

The transition to settlements in national currencies will be actively gaining momentum – inevitably. This, of course, depends on the state of the issuers of these currencies, on the state of their economies, but they will strengthen, and such calculations, of course, will gradually begin to dominate. Such is the logic of the sovereign economic and financial policy of the multipolar world.

Further. Today, new world development centers already have unique technologies and scientific developments in various fields and can successfully compete with Western multinational companies in many areas.

Obviously, we have a common, quite pragmatic interest in an honest and open scientific and technological exchange. Together, everyone wins more than individually. The majority should benefit, not individual super-rich corporations.

How are things today? If the West sells medicines or seeds of food crops to other countries, then it orders the killing of national pharmaceuticals and selection, in fact, in practice it all comes down to this; supplies machine tools and equipment – destroys local mechanical engineering. I, while still the Prime Minister, understood this: as soon as the market is opened for a certain product group, that’s it, the local manufacturer “lay down”, and it’s almost impossible to raise your head. That’s how relationships are built. Thus, the capture of markets and resources takes place, countries are deprived of their technological and scientific potential. This is not progress, but enslavement, the reduction of economies to a primitive level.

Technological development should not increase global inequality, but reduce it. This is how Russia traditionally implements its foreign technology policy. For example, by building nuclear power plants in other countries, we are simultaneously creating centers of competence there, training national personnel – we are creating an industry, we are not just building an enterprise, but creating an entire industry. In fact, we give other countries the opportunity to make a real breakthrough in their scientific and technological development, reduce inequality, and bring their energy sector to a new level of efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Let me emphasize again: sovereignty, original development in no way mean isolation, autarky, but, on the contrary, presuppose active, mutually beneficial cooperation on fair and equal principles.

If liberal globalization is depersonalization, the imposition of the Western model on the whole world, then integration, on the contrary, is the disclosure of the potential of each civilization in the interests of the whole, for the sake of the common gain. If globalism is a dictate, and this is what it all comes down to in the end, then integration is the joint development of common strategies that are beneficial to everyone.

In this regard, Russia considers it important to more actively launch mechanisms for creating large spaces built on the interaction of neighboring countries, whose economy, social system, resource base, and infrastructure complement each other. Such large spaces, in fact, are the basis of a multipolar world order – the economic basis. From their dialogue, the true unity of humanity is born, much more complex, original and multidimensional than in the simplified ideas of some Western ideologists.

The unity of humanity is not built on the command “do like me”, “be like us”. It is formed taking into account and on the basis of the opinions of all, with a careful attitude to the identity of each society and people. It is on this principle that long-term cooperation in a multipolar world can develop.

In this regard, it may be worth considering that the structure of the United Nations, including its Security Council, reflects precisely the diversity of world regions to a greater extent. After all, much more will depend on Asia, Africa, Latin America in the world of tomorrow than is commonly believed today, and such an increase in their influence is certainly positive.

Let me remind you that Western civilization is not the only one even in our common Eurasian space. Moreover, the majority of the population is concentrated precisely in the east of Eurasia – where the centers of the most ancient civilizations of mankind arose.

The value and significance of Eurasia is that this continent is a self-sufficient complex with gigantic resources of any kind and huge opportunities. And the harder we work to increase the connectivity of Eurasia, create new ways, forms of cooperation, the more impressive success we achieve.

The successful activity of the Eurasian Economic Union, the rapid growth of the authority and influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, large-scale initiatives within the framework of the “One Belt, One Road”, plans for multilateral cooperation on the implementation of the North-South transport corridor and many other projects in this part of the world, I am sure that this is the beginning of a new era, a new stage in the development of Eurasia. Integration projects here do not contradict, but mutually complement each other, of course, if they are carried out by neighboring countries in their own interests, and are not introduced by external forces in order to split the Eurasian space, turn it into a zone of bloc confrontation.

A natural part of Greater Eurasia could also be its western tip – Europe. But many of its leaders are hampered by the conviction that the Europeans are better than others, that it is not appropriate for them to participate in some undertakings on an equal footing with the rest. Behind such arrogance, they somehow do not notice that they themselves have already become someone else’s periphery, have essentially turned into vassals – often without the right to vote.

Dear colleagues!

The collapse of the Soviet Union also destroyed the balance of geopolitical forces. The West felt like a winner and proclaimed a unipolar world order in which only its will, its culture, its interests had the right to exist.

Now this historical period of undivided dominance of the West in world affairs is coming to an end, the unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past. We are standing at a historic milestone, ahead of what is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time important decade since the end of World War II. The West is not able to single-handedly manage humanity, but is desperately trying to do it, and most of the peoples of the world no longer want to put up with it. This is the main contradiction of the new era. To use the words of a classic, the situation is revolutionary to a certain extent: the upper classes cannot, and the lower classes do not want to live like this already, to use the words of a classic.

This state of affairs is fraught with global conflicts or a whole chain of conflicts, which is a threat to humanity, including the West itself. Constructively, constructively resolve this contradiction – that is today’s main historical task.

Changing milestones is a painful process, but natural and inevitable. The future world order is being formed before our eyes. And in this world order, we must listen to everyone, take into account every point of view, every nation, society, culture, every system of worldviews, ideas and religious beliefs, without imposing a single truth on anyone, and only on this basis, understanding our responsibility for fate – the fate of peoples, the planet, to build a symphony of human civilization.

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