President Dmitry Medvedev has called for root and branch reform in Russia in a State of the Nation address short on specific initiatives. The economy must diversify away from its reliance on raw materials exports, he said. And he attacked huge state corporations created by his predecessor Vladimir Putin – the current prime minister.
“We must start the modernisation and technical renewal of our whole production sphere immediately,” Medvedev said. “In my opinion, this is the key to our country’s survival in the modern world.” In the speech to Russia’s political and economic elite, broadcast live on television, Medvedev attacked corruption and inefficiency. And, while pledging to boost democratic institutions, he issued this warning to opponents: “Stonger democracy does not mean weakening law and order. Any attempts to rock the boat with democratic slogans, to destabilise the state and split society, will be stopped.” The focus was firmly on Russia with foreign policy hardly mentioned. The word “modernisation’ was repeated over and over again, with the emphasis on technology. Among Medvedev’s targets – launching broadband internet and digital TV nationwide within five years.