Vladimir Putin made his Annual Address to the Federal Assembly. As is tradition, the Address took place at the Kremlin’s St George Hall before an audience of more than 1,000 people. In his Address, the President set out his views on the situation in Ukraine and outlined Russia’s position with regard to events taking place there. In the foreign policy section of the Address, Mr Putin also spoke about international security issues and the integration processes taking place in the world.
In his Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Federal Assembly that Washington’s plan for Russia is to break the country into pieces as was done to Yugoslavia. The American scenario for Russia is “disintegration and dismemberment.” Putin reminded Washington that speaking to Russia from a position of force is futile and will lead Washington to the same fate as Hitler.
Putin also noted that Washington’s disregard for its own and international law had made the United States into a lawless state that is a danger to the world. Walter Rockler, a Nuremberg Tribunal Prosecutor of Nazi war crimes has come to the same conclusion as Putin: “The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok.”
Russia, Putin said, will deal decisively with anyone who brings force to Russia, as Russia always has. The difficulties that the Americans are bringing us “create new opportunities for us. We are ready to take up any challenge and win.”
Most of Putin’s address is about Russia’s development plans. At every stage of these plans Putin stresses that the focus is on the welfare of the Russian population, not on the creation of a small class of rich elites. Education, healthcare, and the social welfare system are a public benefit for all citizens. “Attention to the people cannot be faked.” Self-respect and honor are the basis for reputation, and the reputation of hospitals, schools, universities, and social institutions are important to the Russia’s reputation.
There is no belligerence in Putin’s address. We do not go about seeking enemies, he told the Assembly. Russia will cooperate with any country on an equal basis, but Russia will not be an American vassal.
On the subject of Russia’s economic strategy, the President said that Russia is open to the world, to investment and to carrying out projects together, but ultimately, Russia’s development depends above all on the country’s own efforts. Mr Putin named development of new technology and competitive goods, giving the country’s industry and financial sector a more solid foundation, and training the needed personnel as priority tasks.
The President also talked about relations between the state and business, in particular the need to free up the environment for doing business as much as possible and the concrete steps that can be taken to achieve this. Mr Putin proposed that no changes be made to the current tax rules for the next four years, and also proposed an amnesty for capital returning to Russia
The President set the goal of reaching growth rates above the world average within the next 3-4 years.
Mr Putin also set objectives in the financial sector, agribusiness, and the banking sector, and declared the need to free Russia from dependence on foreign technology. Import substitution is a long term strategy, the President said, and is a goal for Russia regardless of the situation with sanctions. Mr Putin also gave the main target figures for Russian exports and investment levels.
The President proposed implementing a national technology initiative that will involve forecasting the technology needs required to guarantee Russia’s national security and ensure high living standards and economic development over the coming 10-15 years.
The President also spoke about demography, healthcare and education.
In his concluding section, Mr Putin focused on the dialogue between the state authorities and the public and the need to raise civic activeness and Russia’s civil society potential.
Those present for the Address included members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, regional governors, heads of regional legislative assemblies, heads of Russia’s traditional religious faiths, public figures, including heads of regional public chambers, and the heads of Russia’s biggest media outlets.
Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, December 4, 2014 (full text)
Vladimir Poetin: Presidentiële toespraak 4 december 2014 (Nederlandse vertaling)
“Russia Confronts US’ Containment Strategy“, December 6, 2014, SCF