President Putin delivered Russia’s state of the nation address on Thursday.
In his speech to the Federal Assembly, he said Russia was not trying to be a superpower or to “teach anyone how to live,” widely seen as a veiled criticism of the United States.
Putin said he hoped Ukraine would find a political solution to the current crisis and that the country had a choice whether or not to join a Russian-led Customs Union and was not obliged to do so.
Putin also said he wanted his reforms to be put in place more effectively and blamed the parliament and regional councils for not implementing his decrees properly.
“The reforms that have already been put in place a year and half ago were either done in a way that provoked negative reactions or nothing is done,” Putin said.
Putin went on to condemn racial tensions and violence in the country, saying: “One of the most important things that we have to discuss openly is the problem between the different ethnicities in our country. A lot of racial problems are because of the problems of economics and territorial development, corruption and mistakes in the work of governmental entities as well as the failure in the cultural and educational system.”