Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

04/12/2014
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.
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.
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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Citizens of Russia, members of the Federation Council and deputies of the State Duma,
Today’s address will be related to the current situation and conditions, as well as the tasks we are facing. But before delivering it I’d like to thank all of you for the support, unity and solidarity you have shown during the landmark events that will seriously influence the future of our country.
This year we faced trials that only a mature and united nation and a truly sovereign and strong state can withstand. Russia has proved that it can protect its compatriots and defend truth and fairness.
Russia has done this thanks to its citizens, thanks to your work and the results we have achieved together, and thanks to our profound understanding of the essence and importance of national interests. We have become aware of the indivisibility and integrity of the thousand-year long history of our country. We have come to believe in ourselves, to believe that we can do much and achieve every goal.
Of course, we will talk about this year’s landmark events. You know that a referendum was held in Crimea in March, at which its residents clearly expressed their desire to join Russia. After that, the Crimean parliament – it should be stressed that it was a legitimate parliament that was elected back in 2010 – adopted a resolution on sovereignty. And then we saw the historical reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.
It was an event of special significance for the country and the people, because Crimea is where our people live, and the peninsula is of strategic importance for Russia as the spiritual source of the development of a multifaceted but solid Russian nation and a centralised Russian state. It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Rus.
In addition to ethnic similarity, a common language, common elements of their material culture, a common territory, even though its borders were not marked then, and a nascent common economy and government, Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation. All of this allows us to say that Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism.
And this is how we will always consider it.
Dear friends,
We cannot fail to mention today our perspective on the developments in Ukraine and how we intend to work with our partners around the world.
It is well known that Russia not only supported Ukraine and other brotherly republics of the former Soviet Union in their aspirations to sovereignty, but also facilitated this process greatly in the 1990ies. Since then, our position has remained unchanged.
Every nation has an inalienable sovereign right to determine its own development path, choose allies and political regimes, create an economy and ensure its security. Russia has always respected these rights and always will. This fully applies to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
It is true that we condemned the government coup and the forceful takeover of power in Kiev in February of this year. The developments we are currently witnessing in Ukraine and the tragedy unfolding in the country’s southeast prove that we were right to take such a stand.
How did it all begin? I will have to remind you what happened back then. It is hard to believe that it all started with a technical decision by President Yanukovych to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Make no mistake, he did not refuse to sign the document, but only postponed it in order to make some adjustments.
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