Putin Addresses Issues Including Russia’s New Missiles in Latest Speech & Emphasizes Dangers of WW3
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia’s new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, President Vladimir Putin delivered his address to the Federal Assembly, in which he presented his assessment of the state of affairs in the country and announced his vision of most important objectives for the near future. It has become Putin’s 15th address to the Federal Assembly as President. 44 comments 162 share
Unlike last year’s speech, in which Putin presented Russia’s new outstanding developments and achievements in the field of defence, his present address was expected to be people-oriented. Putin’s ratings have been declining as citizens are tired of waiting for the authorities to deal with a plethora of social and economic problems in Russia. Indeed, in the beginning of his speech, Putin declared that it was necessary to focus attention on internal issues of the country’s development. According to him, all Russians will see improvements already in the coming months. About 95% of Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly was devoted to social issues, but he also spoke about Russia’s military power, her state-of-the-art weapons, and did not miss a chance to intimidate the United States.
“For people, it’s important what is being done and how it can improve their lives, the lives of their families – now, rather than sometime. We don’t need to repeat our mistakes of past decades and wait for the advent of communism. We must change the situation for the better, and the work of executive authorities at all levels must be coherent, meaningful and vigorous. It is up to the Russian government to set such a tone,” Putin said.
About 19 million Russians are living below the poverty line now, and this is too much, Putin said.
“Solving demographic problems, increasing life expectancy, reducing mortality are directly related to overcoming poverty. Let me remind you that in 2000, over 40 million people were living below the poverty line. Now it is about 19 million, but this is too much still,” Putin said during his annual Address to the Federal Assembly.
The President said that he knows that citizens of Russia have to save on most essential things, such as clothes, medicines and even food.
“In the near future, already this year, we should see real changes in people’s assessments of the situation. Early next year, we’ll summarize first results of the work on national projects,” Putin said.
The president proceeded to specific tasks that the Russian authorities are facing. According to him, the key objective is to protect people and support families.
“Russia has entered a very difficult demographic period. The birth rate has been declining. The reasons behind this are purely objective. They are associated with enormous human losses and failures that our country suffered in the 20th century, during the Great Patriotic War and during dramatic years after the collapse of the USSR. We were able to reverse negative demographic trends in the early 2000s, when the country was in a very difficult situation, when it seemed that it was impossible to do anything, but we did it. We can do it again – to make the natural population growth resume by 2023-2024,” Putin said in his message to the Federal Assembly.
Speaking further about the need for social changes in Russia, Putin noted the following:
– social allowances for children and for disabled individuals will be raised;
– property tax exemptions for families with children will be raised;
– mortgage rates will be below 8%, whereas special benefits will be provided for families with children;
– large families will receive 450 thousand rubles to pay off their mortgage. Thus, taking into account the maternity capital, they will receive more than 900 thousand rubles to pay off the mortgage, which is a significant part of the apartment value in most regions of the Russian Federation.
The President also drew attention to the need to immediately index pensions and annual cash payments beyond the subsistence rate.
In conclusion, Vladimir Putin threatened the US leadership by saying that Russia’s new missiles will be able to reach Washington and New York. However, Putin noted that Russia was not interested in confronting the United States. Russia is not a threat to the US – instead, Russia wants to have equal friendly relations with Washington. He urged the White House to abandon illusions about gaining global military superiority.
Putin said that Russia’s new weapons, about which he spoke in his Address to the Federal Assembly in 2018, were capable of ensuring “unconditional security” for Russia.
Russia is ready to take mirror and asymmetric measures should the US deploy medium- and short- range missiles in Europe.
“Russia does not intend to be the first to deploy such missiles in Europe. If they are made and delivered to the European continent – and the United States has such plans, in any case we have not heard rebuttals to that – this will sharply aggravate the situation in the sphere of international security and create serious threats to Russia, because it takes some of those missiles 10-12 minutes to reach Moscow. This is a very serious threat for us. If it happens, we will be forced, I want to emphasize this, we will be forced to take mirror and asymmetrical measures in response,” Putin said.
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Putin: The world underestimates danger of nuclear war
On December 20, Russian President Putin started his 14th, large press conference. Interestingly, on December 20 Russia marks the Day of the Security Officer, which has been commonly known in Russia as the “Chekist Day” (‘Chekist’ is a Russian colloquialism for ‘KGB officer’). After the press conference, Putin will attend a gala evening dedicated to this date. 21 comments 337 share
A record number of journalists – more than 1,700 people – were accredited for the press conference.
Traditionally, Putin started the press conference with a brief report about the economic situation in Russia. The president said that Russia’s GDP grew by 1.7 percent over the year. The real level of wages was growing, while the inflation rate remained on an acceptable level. As of 2018, it will exceed the target level of 4 percent and will make up 4.1-4.2 percent. The unemployment level in the country decreased to 4.8 percent having thus set an all-time low, Putin said. Life expectancy in the Russian Federation in 2018 increased to 72.9 years compared to 72.7 years last year.
The budget surplus of the Russian Federation in 2018 will make up 2.1 percent of GDP.
Putin stressed that Russia needs a breakthrough, a leap into the new technological order. This requires resources, which the government and the administration are looking for.
Answering a question of whether the Russian economy is stagnating, Putin said that the government did not rely on “mechanical” calculations in its forecasts. The government plans a growth of three percent by 2021. Fluctuations are possible, but it is important to enter another league of economies, Putin said, adding that Russia’s goal is to become the fifth economy in the world.
Speaking about the work of the Russian government, Putin said that he was “generally pleased” with the work that the Russian government conducts under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev.
According to the head of state, the budget surplus of 2.1 percent of GDP is a good indicator of the work of the government.
Answering the question of whether the fiscal burden on Russian people was too high and how it could be related to the policy of the government that raises VAT, housing and utility tariffs for people and imposes a tax on self-employed individuals, Putin said that in many countries VAT makes up 20% (Russia is raising VAT from 18 to 20 percent from January 1, 2019).
Putin said that the change in the VAT rate was necessary to reduce oil and gas budget deficit. He said that during the recent economic crises, Russia was forced to spend petrodollars, which led to an increase in the oil and gas deficit. It became possible to reduce it to 6.6 percent.
Answering a question about fears of a new global military conflict, a global nuclear disaster and a world war, Putin noted that the world was underestimating the danger of a nuclear war during the recent years. The danger of such a scenario in the world is being obscured, which may lead to the death of human civilisation and even the whole planet, President Putin said. In the West, there is an idea of using low yield nuclear weapons, but the use of such weapons can lead to a global catastrophe, the Russian leader stressed.
Answering a question about unnecessary conflicts between authorities and representatives of the younger generation, about dispersing rap concerts, banning young people from participating in rallies, Putin said that young people make the foundation of today’s and future Russia.
Yet, there are different kinds of young people, he said. He referred to the story of young paratroopers, who were fighting to death with hordes of terrorists. “Out of several dozen, only six of them remained, and they were fighting against two thousand militants,” said Putin making a reference to the feat of 90 paratroopers from Pskov, who engaged in a battle with 2,500 Chechen terrorists near the village of Ulus-Kert in 2000.
In addition to young military men, there are a lot of young volunteers and people who are engaged in search and rescue activities. “Those people make the stronghold of today and the future of Russia,” Putin said, adding that “there are also talented musicians.”
He then condemned the drug propaganda in rap songs. “Do we want to degrade? In no way this should be encouraged. At the same time, one should counteract differently here,” he said. Therefore, the Russian president considers the arrests of rap singers and the abortion of their concerts unnecessary, since such conflicts are counterproductive.
“Yet, there is nothing good in the fact that they use foul language in their songs – but let them sing so,” Putin noted. “Art does not exist to indulge sordid values,” he added.
Speaking about the state of affairs in Ukraine, attempts to solve political problems of the Donbass by force are doomed to failure, Vladimir Putin said when answering a question from a correspondent of Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, who asked the Russian president how much money Russia spends on the Donbass, whose people Russia treats like slaves.
“Attempts to solve political issues with the help of force, and we can see that this is exactly what the Ukrainian authorities have been doing for several years, are doomed to failure. It must be understood,” Putin said.
Putin also said that Russian-Ukrainian relations are not going to go back to normal until there were Russophobes in power in Ukraine.
“As long as there are Russophobes in power in Kiev, who do not understand what the interests of their own people are, an abnormal situation like this will continue regardless of who is in power in the Kremlin,” Putin said.
At the same time, Russia is interested in peace and prosperity in Ukraine, as Ukraine remains one of the largest economic partners of the Russian Federation. The trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has increased compared to 2017. “This is not strange, because it is a natural connection, and these natural connections will someday make their presence felt,” he added.
Russia will continue providing humanitarian and other assistance to people living in the Donbass. “We really provide humanitarian, other type of assistance and support to people who live in this territory. We are doing it so that they do not get crushed, torn and eaten there. And we will do it further,” said the head of state.
It was not Russia, but the Ukrainian authorities that set up the blockade between the Donbass and the rest of Ukraine. “It is them, who shell the people, whom they consider their own citizens. Every day people get killed there – civilian people,” Putin said.
Maria Butina, a Russian citizen, who was arrested in the USA, was not executing any tasks for the Russian authorities, no matter what she may say. Therefore, there are no grounds for accusations against Butina in the United States, Putin said. “They force her to confess, but I do not really understand what she can confess there, because she was not fulfilling any assignments of the state bodies of Russia, and I can responsibly declare this to you, no matter what she’s saying there under the influence of threats of imprisonment for 12-15 years,” said Putin. “I don’t understand why they jailed her. There is simply no reason for it,” Putin added.
Speaking about the detention of foreign citizens in the United States, Putin said that Moscow would not be acting on an “eye for an eye” principle to subsequently exchange prisoners.
Speaking about the case of Skripal poisoning, Putin said that there was nothing to comment on – Skripal and his daughter are alive, but the media hype does not subside. Thus, the Skripal case is only a pretext for an attack on Moscow, Putin said. “If there had been no Skripals, they would have come up with something else just to contain the development of Russia as a competitor,” Putin said.
At the same time, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, but no one introduces sanctions, the Russian president recalled, pointing out the policy of double standards in the West.
The Russian president believes that the Russian economy has adapted itself to international sanctions. Generally, Russia has always been living under sanctions which the West impose on Russia at the time when Russia’s power and international influence grows. The West has lost the Russian market, and the number of jobs in the West has declined. The unemployment level in Russia is only 4.8 percent, while in EU countries, for example, in Spain, it reaches 15 percent, he said. Moreover, restrictions forced the Russians to think different in many areas. The share of transport engineering currently makes up more than 90 percent, while sales to the foreign market have increased.
Answering a question about growing nostalgia for the times of the USSR among the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that he considered the restoration of socialism in Russia impossible.
“I think it is impossible,” he said. “A profound change in society excludes the restoration of socialism … this is impossible,” the president added.
Speaking about elements of socialism that can and even need to be restored, Putin noted the equitable distribution of resources, the aspiration to reduce the level of poverty to a minimum, ensure medical and educational services to people on acceptable conditions. “We are carrying out such policies now. This is what our national projects aim to,” Putin said.
With regard to the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, Putin said that the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan every year. The withdrawal of US troops from Syria, is not yet visible either, he noted.
Putin said that there was no need for US troops to be present in Syria. “Let us not forget that the presence of US troops in Syria is illegitimate. The UN Security Council had not confirmed the presence of US troops in Syria. It is only the decision of the UN Security Council or the invitation from the legitimate government of Syria that can make the presence of a foreign military contingent in Syria legal,” Putin added.
Vladimir Putin agreed with Donald Trump who said that the United States contributed to the destruction of terrorists in Syria. “I agree with Donald here,” he said but recalled that Russia had taken immense efforts to destroy terrorists.
“Despite all discrepancies, there’s still quite a constructive dialogue between our specialists, our military men and special services to resolve acute problems in the struggle against terrorism in Syria,” Putin said.
Photo credits: kremlin.ru
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