Executive Intelligence Review


Putin Addresses Federal Assembly: Russia Has Been and Will Be ‘A Sovereign and Independent State’

Feb. 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—In his annual address to the Federal Assembly today, President Vladimir Putin defined the major goals of both his domestic and foreign policy, with a heavy emphasis, in domestic policy, on the development of science and technology, which, he stated, is directly correlated with how Russia develops economically and how successful it is in defending the welfare of its people—restoring population growth and creating the conditions in which individuals, families, children, professionals, and businesses can flourish.

He especially emphasized the importance of educating young people, telling them that “your talents, energy and creative abilities are among Russia’s strongest competitive advantages. We understand and greatly value this.” Passion for a future career and creativity “is formed at a young age,” he said.

Russia faces great challenges, he explained, but there can be no delay in working to overcome them. The objectives are challenging, but lowering the requirements or watering them down “is not an option.” There can be no business as usual. Forget thinking that some things are impossible, too difficult, or will not work. “With such an attitude you had better stay away.” You cannot fool people; they’re not interested in red tape or bureaucracy. They want to see what has an impact on their lives, “and not sometime in the future, but now ... we have to change the situation for the better now.”

He reminded his audience: “People are at the core of the national projects, which are designed to bring about a new quality of life for all generations. This can only be achieved by generating momentum in Russia’s development.” The only way to reduce poverty is through greater economic growth, he said. By 2021, it should be over 3%.

What follows are highlights of his nationally televised 1.5-hour speech, which the Kremlin has translated in full.

Putin itemized the priority measures he said must be implemented to improve the lives of Russia’s population. Increasing wages, strengthening the social safety net, increasing access to healthcare and education for all Russians, making housing affordable are all necessary to defend the general welfare. The factors which caused Russia’s demographic growth to collapse in the 1990s in particular, are well known, Putin said. But by 2023-2024, it is expected that Russia’s natural population growth rate would be restored. It is crucial that families be protected, he continued; having children should never throw families into poverty. These measures he outlined must be carried out, he insisted, because “our future is at stake.”

Foreign and Defense Policy: He discussed relations with the United States, with particular attention paid to the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which he acknowledged was outdated. But rather than making “far-fetched accusations against Russia to justify their unilateral withdrawal from the Treaty,” the U.S. should have just pulled out, as it did in 2002 when it walked away from the ABM Treaty.

The reality, he said, is that the U.S. flagrantly violated the treaty. Russia, he said, does not intend to deploy medium-range missiles in Europe, but if the U.S. does,

“it will dramatically exacerbate the international security situation, and create a serious threat to Russia, because some of these missiles can reach Moscow in just 10-12 minutes. This is a very serious threat to us.”

If this happens, he warned,

“we will be forced to respond with mirror or asymmetric actions.... Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centers for the missile systems threatening us ... these weapons will fully correspond to the threats directed against Russia in their technical specifications, including flight times to these decision-making centers.”

This, as is to be expected from Western press, is all they covered from Putin’s powerful and comprehensive speech—and it was covered as “Putin Threatens the West.”

“Our American colleagues,” he continued, “have already tried to gain absolute military superiority with their global missile defense project. They need to stop deluding themselves.” Putin reported that the work on advanced defense systems on which he spoke in his address a year ago, is “continuing as scheduled and without disruptions,” and went on to name each type of weapon and missile system, submarines, hypersonic missiles, etc. “We are ready to engage in disarmament talks, but we will not knock on a locked door anymore. We will wait until our partners are ready and become aware of the need for dialogue on this matter.”

Russia, Putin said, wants to have “sound, equal and friendly relations with the U.S.A.” It threatens no one. “We are not interested in confrontation,” especially not with a global power like the United States.

“However, it seems that our partners fail to notice the depth and pace of change around the world and where it is headed. They continue with their destructive and clearly misguided policy. This hardly meets the interests of the U.S.A. itself. But this is not for us to decide.”

The Russian President emphasized that

“we need peace for sustainable long-term development. Our efforts to enhance our defense capability are for one purpose: To ensure the security of this country, and our citizens so that nobody would even consider pressuring us or launching an aggression against us.”

Nota bene, he said, “Russia has been and always will be a sovereign and independent state. This is a given. It will either be that or will simply cease to exist. We must clearly understand this. Without sovereignty, Russia cannot be a state. Some countries can do this, but not Russia.”

He expressed the hope that the European Union would take real steps to restore normal political and economic relations with Moscow. He also said that Russia pays great attention to boosting relations with India and China. Building relations with Moscow means “finding joint solutions to the most difficult issues, and not trying to dictate terms.”

Science and Technology: Scientific and technological breakthroughs have become one of Russia’s key national priorities, he said. “I’m confident that we can make it by uniting efforts of the state, businesses, scientific and educational society, and widening freedom for initiative and creativity of our people.” He pointed to the importance of Russia having made high-tech breakthroughs in defense, which was difficult, but succeeded in breaking new ground. He underscored the role of very young engineers and workers who “grew up in these projects.” This work in the area of defense also influenced the “consolidation of our scientific potential and the development of unique technological assets.”

He emphasized that work done in the defense sector or in aerospace, can and must also have civilian applications. Now a priority will be the “development of an advanced scientific infrastructure.”