Putin Outlines the Next Stage of Russia’s Journey

By Donna Welles.
  In his annual message to the Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin spoke philosophically of Russia’s journey and explained that the country has moved into a new stage of development. Mr. Putin addressed a variety of historic trends including those needing reversal such as demographic collapse and capital flight, as well as traditions that should be perpetuated – the glory of the Russian military, the depth of Russia’s human capital, and spirituality.
Contents of the Speech
Anta-gonist [ru] LiveJournal Blog organised the contents of Putin’s speech into ten categories, including (1) promoting three-child households, (2) curtailing capital flight, (3) introducing a luxury tax, (4) empowering auditors, (5) introducing a temporary suspension of officials, (6) regulating political competition, (7) immigration reform, (8) honoring the heroes of World War I, (9) not returning to the awful days of privatization, and (10) increasing food production to meet demand.              
Vadimb LiveJournal Blog included in his post titled, “Putin’s Message: The Birth Rate in the Russian Regions, the Prohibition of Migrants’ Entry into Russia without Passports” excerpts from the speech [ru] which give insight into the specifics of Mr. Putin’s plan.
For example, Mr. Putin’s plan for combating Russia’s demographic crisis targets those regions of Russia that are sparsely populated. The Russian Far East has had demographic concerns since the early 1990’s when the Fall of the Soviet Union led to a net outward migration as well as an excess of deaths over births in the region. Such concerns are exacerbated by the contrasting population density on the Chinese side of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers. At the turn of the millennium, there were 80 million people living in the Chinese provinces that border Russia while the Russian figure was 5 million and falling.

Уже начиная с 2013 года, начнем выплаты дополнительных пособий при рождении третьего и последующего детей в тех регионах страны, где демографическая ситуация пока хуже, чем в среднем по стране. Таких субъектов Федерации у нас 50. Большая их часть сосредоточена в Центральном, Северо-Западном, Приволжском и Дальневосточном федеральных округах.

Starting in 2013, we will begin paying additional benefits for the production of three or more children in those regions of the country where the demographic situation is worse than the national average. We have 50 such regions in the Russian Federation, and most of them are concentrated in the Central, Northwestern, Volga, and the Far Eastern Districts.

Possibly inspired by the international controversy surrounding the Pussy Riot verdict, another excerpt touched on issues of state-mandated morality.

Закон может защищать нравственность, и должен это делать, но нельзя законом установить нравственность. Попытки государства вторгаться в сферу убеждений и взглядов людей – это, безусловно, проявление тоталитаризма. Это для нас абсолютно неприемлемо. Мы и не собираемся идти по этому пути. Мы должны действовать не путем запретов и ограничений

The law can protect morality, and should do so, but the law cannot instill morality. Attempts by the state to intrude into the sphere of beliefs and attitudes of the people – this is certainly a manifestation of totalitarianism. This for us is totally unacceptable. We are not going to go down that route. We must act, not by prohibitions and restrictions
Official portrait of Vladimir Putin. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Kremlin.ru


Reactions to the Speech 

Other RuNetizens speculated as to the likely effectiveness of these reforms as well as to Mr. Putin’s sincerity as he delivered them. Mikhail Terekhin’s LiveJournal blog distinguished between Mr. Putin’s public appearances and those of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev before asserting skepticism that any of these reforms would come to fruition.

Это послание было гораздо интереснее слушать, чем интервью Медведева журналистам. Почему? Да потому что Путин умеет врать красиво и интересно. Медведев как-то в этом пока не очень преуспел. […] Путин в своём послании затронул почти все сегодняшние проблемы в России. Первое же вранье из его уст было сформулировано фразой: «Все, что намечено, будет неукоснительно исполняться». Даже идиот поймёт, что он врёт. Если описывать вкратце, то он сказал, что очередей в детские сады не будет, что появятся и будут развиваться 25 миллионов рабочих мест, что все те, кто на 1 января 2012 года был зарегистрирован в очереди на новое жильё из-за аварийного состояния старого, получат новое жильё. В общем, и так ясно, что очереди останутся, рабочих мест не будет, как впрочем, и нового жилья.

This message was much more interesting than listening to Medvedev’s interview with the journalists. Why? Because Putin is able to lie beautifully and interestingly. Medvedev somehow was never very successful at this. […] Putin in his message touched on almost all of today’s problems in Russia. The very first lie out of his mouth was formulated with the phrase, “Everything that is planned will be strictly enforced.” Even an idiot can see that he is lying. Put succinctly, he said that there will be no more kindergarten queues, 25 million jobs will be created, and that everyone who had registered for a new home by 1 January 2012 due to a breakdown of the old will receive new housing. In general, it’s so clear, that queues will remain and there will be no jobs or new housing.

Finally, an interaction following a 1mim LiveJournal post placed Mr. Putin’s proposals in their historical context. Both speakers agreed that, although life in Russia had improved over the past decade, life in Russia is still difficult and it is possible that life in Russia will always be difficult. haleriy:

Никто не обещал, что мы будим жить хорошо. Обещали, что мы будем жить ещё лучше.

No one promised that we would live well. They promised that we would live better.


Ну то что получше за 10 лет стало, тут спору нет… Но проблемы всё те же…Вечные они что ли?

Well, that things are a little better after 10 years, no argument here… But the problems are the same…Are they eternal or what?

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