Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his highly-anticipated annual address to the country’s Federal Assembly.
Putin said he was ready to work together with US president-elect Donald Trump on an “equal” basis.
“I am counting on joining forces with the United States in the fight with the real, not made-up, threat of international terrorism”, he noted. He also stressed that Russia was looking to make friends, not enemies.
In a speech largely devoted to domestic issues, he suggested that there were signs that economic declines were levelling out and expressed a desire to continue to fight corruption.
Why does the president do this?
The annual state-of-the-union-style address will be the 23rd event of its kind in Russia’s modern history.
It is the 13th speech delivered by Vladimir Putin.
The president’s annual address has become a tradition after Boris Yeltsin first delivered it in 1994.
By tradition, it is be given in the St George Palace of the Kremlin.
According to the Russian constitution, the country’s leader is obliged to inform the Federal Assembly once a year about the current state of the country.
It is his constitutional duty to give an evaluation of the current state of affairs in the country and identify key domestic and foreign policy objectives.
What does the speech usually focus on?
The most important domestic issues.
However, foreign policy has come up during previous years.
Who was there?
Lawmakers from both chambers.
The gathering is also attended by high representatives from Russia’s judiciary, the Public Chamber, the Audit Chamber and representatives of the Church.
There were also be 500 journalists attending, according to the TASS news agency.
The president’s spokesman was vague about what exactly Vladimir Putin will touch on.
“Addresses by the president to the Federal Assembly are a traditional format, but no speech is like any other, so, of course, this year it will be completely different in terms of content, yet keeping a Putin-style main core,” Peskov told journalists.
As a result, there were various predictions about topics:
- The Russian economy
- The Syrian crisis
- Russia’s Trump-era relations with the US
What Putin said
After speaking for an hour on domestic policy, Putin turned to focus on foreign policy.
“We hope to join efforts with the United States in the fight against a real rather than dreamt up threat – global terrorism,” he said.
He added that Russia would stand up for its own interests abroad but had no intention of getting involved in any geopolitical confrontations – despite the continued involvement in the conflict in Syria and over Ukraine.
In an apparent call for calm, Putin said: “We are not seeking and have never sought enemies. We need friends.”
What they were saying
“I think the president will pay serious attention to the issue of overcoming the financial crisis, the subject of the development of Russia’s economy,” – Andrey Isaev, deputy chief of the parliamentary faction of the governing United Russia Party.
“I think our position towards the US and the EU will also be voiced. Perhaps we will also hear comments and suggestions for constructive cooperation with Western partners,” – Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chief of the Russian Federal Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee.