President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday reprised his critique of the United States as a declining power that treats its allies as colonies, while declaring itself exceptional and “the messenger of the Lord on Earth.”
“If they are exceptional, then that means that everyone else is second-class,” Mr. Putin said of the United States in an address that the Kremlin had billed as “extremely important” at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum — an annual business conference once known as “Russia’s Davos.”
His remarks were delayed by over an hour after the Kremlin cited “large-scale” distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems. The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said the attacks had taken out of commission the database of conference participants, complicating the process of screening the guests entering the plenary session at which Mr. Putin was to speak.
Mr. Putin also said the European Union had imposed sanctions against Russia on orders from Washington despite the damage to its own economy.
“The European Union has completely lost its political sovereignty,” Mr. Putin said, “and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to a stranger’s tunes while accepting everything they are told from above while harming their own public and their own economy.”
He also claimed that Western politicians were falsely blaming inflation in their countries on the war in Ukraine to distract the public from what he described as the real reasons: excessive Western government spending and loose monetary policy.
“We all hear about so called Putin inflation in the West,” Mr. Putin said. “When I see this, I always think: Who’s this meant for, this stupidity? For someone who doesn’t know how to read or write.”
Mr. Putin warned that inflation threatened to cause “hunger in the poorest countries,” and said, “This will be fully on the conscience of the United States and Euro-bureaucracy.”
IT Army of Ukraine, a “hacktavist” group behind a lot of attacks on Russian websites, had earlier flagged the economic forum as a target. “The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is starting today, so let’s ‘visit’ it online together,” the group said on its Telegram channel.
Also expected to appear onstage were President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan and Margarita Simonyan, the editor of the state-run television channel RT. Mr. Peskov said that Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt would address the conference by video.