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.