Putin: ‘No one listened to us then, so listen to us now’ - REPORTAGE
On March 1, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly for the 14th time.
An APA correspondent reports from Moscow that this year’s address was different from the previous ones.
First of all, this event, which was normally held in December, took place in March this year because of the upcoming presidential election in March. In addition, this year's event took place in a different location. While the event was traditionally held at the Kremlin’s St George Hall, this year the event was organized at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the reason for the change of the venue was the increase in the number of invitees and a partial change of the format of the address. Aside from deputies and senators, the Russian president's plenipotentiary representatives were also present in the event.
Speaking for almost two hours, the Russian president first spoke about ways to resolve the country's domestic problems and the work done so far. He focused mainly on socio-economic development and security issues in the country. The president almost did not touch on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and relations with the West. Putin said that the Russian economy will develop and will be completely upgraded to the world standards, and the West's plan to isolate Russia has misfired.
What does Putin promise Russia in the next six years?
Putin said that Russia’s key task for the next six years is to halve level of poverty. Noting that an increase of the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by 1.6 times by mid-2020 is one of key tasks of the state, Putin said that average life expectancy in Russia should be over 80 years by the end of next decade.
“Overall healthcare expenses must grow twofold. Russia should have food export figures above imports in four years,” the president said.
Russia intends to become a world leader
In his message, Putin said that Russia is confidently striding towards being a world leader.
"The whole world is currently experiencing a critical period. The leader of this world can only be the one who is ready for changes - a country that is moving forward. Russia has seen a lot of changes over the past 30 years. Other countries need a hundred years to achieve these changes. We have passed this way, and we will confidently continue to pass it. We have been together, and we will continue to do so,” the president added.
A new range of weapons that is unparalleled
“Syrian war showed what is the Russian army and Russian weapons are capable of,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Federal Assembly on Thursday in his annual State of the Nation Address.
He said that Russia did not respond to NATO’s expansion and the US establishment of air defense in Europe over the long period.
"And now we have an answer. Russia’s military-industrial complex has launched serial production of a new glide vehicle. I can tell you that we have all this already and it works well. Moreover, Russia’s industry has begun to batch-produce this system. It is yet another type of strategic weapon at Russia’s disposal. We’ve called it Avangard," Putin said.
The president went on saying: “New composite materials have allowed for coping with the problem of keeping the winged vehicle under control during a prolonged flight amid plasma. In fact, while approaching the target it looks like a meteorite. A fireball. The temperature on its surface may reach 1,600-2,000 Celsius. Control of the winged vehicle remains reliable all the way. Nobody listened to us. Listen now. But we’re not threatening anyone”.
“We will view any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it of small, medium or any force, as a nuclear attack on our country,” said Putin.
“Our response will be immediate. Nobody should have any doubts about that,” he added.
To the Federal Assembly or to the whole world?
Experts say Vladimir Putin's address was not only sent to the Russian Federal Assembly but to the entire world.
Chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev in a statement to APA explained Putin's remarks as follows: "Having faced pressure from the West for a long time, Russia has successfully overcome it. If we look at the theses in Putin's address, we can see how Russia is moving forward in this direction step by step. For a long time, they did not hear Russia or did not bother to hear Russia. As the President said, they are now forced to hear Russia. Let no one perceive it as a threat.”
The Federation Council’s committee chairman, Alexei Pushkov, shared the same opinion as his counterpart, saying Putin’s address was not only to Russia but to the whole world.
"The West-Russia confrontation has already peaked. The expectations of the West, especially those of the US, which have not listened to us since the collapse of the Soviet Union, have faded away. The West is forced to listen to Russia or will soon be forced to listen. The unipolar era is over. From now on, the West must fight along with Russia against the troubles of the world, because there is no other way,” he said.
One of the most interesting moments in the address to the Federal Assembly was the fact that it took place prior to the presidential election. Among those invited to attend the event were Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Pavel Grudin, who are Putin’s rivals in the election. After the address, Putin's rivals spoke positively about his speech.
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