Putin Arrives in North Korea, Vows to Oppose West Alongside ‘Heroic People’

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday, marking the start of a historic visit to the isolated nation. This trip is expected to further strengthen the political alliance between the two former Soviet-governed countries.

Putin’s visit is the first by a Russian leader in over two decades.

“Pyongyang has always been our steadfast and like-minded ally, prepared to confront the ambitions of the collective West to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order founded on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty, and consideration of each other’s interests,” Putin wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in North Korean state newspapers.

In the op-ed, Putin emphasized the deep and enduring connection between history, geopolitics, and the regional communist bloc that arose in the 20th century, linking Russia and North Korea together.

“Russia has supported the DPRK and its heroic people in the struggle to defend their right to choose their own path of independence, originality, and development, facing down the cunning, dangerous, and aggressive enemy, both in the past and the future, and will invariably continue to support them.”

Following the division of Korea after Imperial Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II, the area north of the 38th parallel was directly controlled by the Soviet Union.

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was established in 1948 with direct influence from the Soviet Union.

While the Russian government has moved beyond the ideology of the Soviet era, figures like Stalin remain cherished as cultural symbols of national pride. Putin has repeatedly championed the international ties forged between Russia, China, North Korea, and other nations that emerged from the communist movement.

“In his op-ed, Putin argued for […] Russia and North Korea to join forces in ‘opposing’ the ‘collective West,'” former U.S. Defense intel officer and strategic military analyst Rebekah Koffler told Digital. 

In the piece, Putin accused the U.S. of “seeking to impose on the world […] a global neo-colonial dictatorship based on double standards.”

“Putin will use these U.S. adversaries to bolster Russia’s weapons arsenal and help destabilize Washington, in order to slow down and disrupt its decision-making, especially during a crisis,” Koffler told Digital.

Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Digital that the trip reinforces the credibility of international reports that “Kim Jong Un plays a pivotal role in Russia’s war in Ukraine.” 

“The Biden administration should increase implementation of existing U.S. sanctions on North Korea, including targeting its revenue generation and sanctions evaders,” Ruggiero told Digital.

He added, “Kim is comfortable with the current situation, which allows him to aid Putin and continue Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development. The Biden administration should increase pressure on Pyongyang and its enablers in Russia and China.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been actively seeking to strengthen ties with Russia and China in order to build international legitimacy despite his country’s poor human rights record.

Putin last visited North Korea in 2000, when the hereditary dictatorship was under the control of Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.

The Kim family – sometimes referred to as the Mount Paektu bloodline – is the hereditary dictatorship of the country founded by communist revolutionary Kim Il Sung. 

North Korea operates under the state ideology of Juche, a quasi-communist worldview built upon a cult of personality and fervent nationalism.