Feb 21, 2023

Putin Gives Annual Address to Russia Transcript

Putin Gives Annual Address to Russia Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsRussiaPutin Gives Annual Address to Russia Transcript

In a speech describing his aims for the second year of his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president said Ukraine was in talks with the West about weapons before Russia invaded. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (04:43):

President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Dear members of State Duma, Senators, dear Citizens of Russian Federation, in today’s address, I’m giving this state address in a very difficult context, in a very difficult time. There are cardinal major changes in the world. There are historic changes that determine the future of our country and our people. Every one of us has a great responsibility. About a year ago in order to protect our people on our historic land, in order to ensure security, in order to liquidate the threat that appeared from the Kyiv regime. After the military coup in 2014, we decided to conduct a special military operation. Step-by-step we will continue to resolve the objectives that before us. Starting from 2014, Donbas has been fighting to defend its right to live on its territory and speak its own language. They were fighting and not giving up in the conditions of a blockade and constant shelling. And in the context of complete hatred from the Kyiv regime, they waited and they believed that the Russia would come to their help.

You know this very well, that we did everything possible. Indeed, everything possible in order to resolve this problem in a peaceful way. We were patient in our negotiations to come out of this horrible conflict. However, behind our backs, a completely different scenario was being prepared. The assurances from the Western leaders to ensure peace in Donbas turned out to be a lie. They were just dragging time and they were trying to close their eyes to the political killings and repressions of the Kyiv regime and abuse of religion and terrorist acts in Donbas. In Western academies and training centers they were training nationalists units and supplying weapons. I would like to emphasize that it was before the special military operation they were negotiating the supply of heavy military equipment and planes and anti-aircraft defense systems. And they were also publicly talking about supply of nuclear weapons.

NATO and Western countries were setting their military bases on our borders and biological laboratories, and they were training on the future theater of military actions. And today they recognize this. They publicly recognize this without shying away. They are talking about Minsk Agreements and Normandy Agreement to be just a show, a spectacle. And when Russia, I would like to emphasize, when Russia sincerely tried to find a peaceful solution, they were playing with lives of people and they were playing a dirty game. And this repulsive lie and their behavior, two-face behavior was seen in Yugoslavia, in Iraq, Syria, and they will not be able to wash away that shame ever of centuries of colonialism and dictatorship. They’re used to this idea that they could do anything, that it turns out that they are treating their own people in this way. They also deceive their own people by telling them stories about peaceful agreements in Donbas. And it’s just total and unprincipled lies.

We have been insisting on protecting our own interests and also that protecting the position that there should not be a situation in the world where there are civilized countries in the rest of the world. We were very open and we were sincerely open for a dialogue with the West, and we were insisting on Europe and the rest of the world to have an equal system of defense and ecosystem of security. We were proposing to our partners this idea, and in response we were getting dishonest answers. But there were also specific actions, expansion of NATO to our borders, creation of new anti-rocket defense systems in Europe, and developing military contingents on the borders of Russia. And I’d like to emphasize that no other country in the world has as many foreign military bases as the United States. They have hundreds, hundreds of military bases around the world.

The whole planet is dotted with their bases. And we saw them exit fundamental agreements on limiting rockets of medium to long range. And they were exiting other agreements supporting peace in the world. They were doing it for a reason. And in December 2021, we officially directed to the U.S. and to Europe our request for guarantees for security. However, we received a direct refusal to our offers and it became clear that the reaction was demonstrated and the threat was growing. And we had no doubt that by February 2022, everything was prepared for a punitive action in Donbas, where Kyiv regime provided artillery and aviation and other weapons to attack Donbas back in 2014. In 2015, they attempted again to directly attack Donbas. They continued shelling, terror in relation to citizens. All of this was completely against the documents that were accepted by the United Nations Security Council. I would like to repeat. They started the war and we used the force in order to stop it.

Those who planned a new attack on Donetsk, on Donbas, on Lugansk, they clearly understood that the next objective is strike against Sevastopol and Crimea. We understood this and they are again in Kyiv talking directly about their plans. And we knew that already. We protect people and protect their homes. And the objectives of the West is infinite power. They spent $150 billion to support militarily Kyiv regime. To compare this, to put this into perspective, in 2021, 2022, big seven countries provided to the poorest countries only 60 billion aid. Also, and in exchange for that 60 billion, they require complete submission to their will.

With this, the flow of money to finance the war is not stopping. And they continue supplying means to provide coups in other countries. And at the recent security conference, there was an endless flow of accusations against Russia. And this was done, it seems, in order for everyone to forget that over the last 10 years, it was the West who opened, who released the genie from the bottle as a result of wars. We did not come up with these figures. These figures are provided by them. As a result of wars that were started by United States since 2021, about 900,000 people died and millions became refugees.

And they’re trying to delete this from the memory of people. They’re trying to pretend this did not happen, but nobody forgot that. The people’s tragedy is not important to them. And they’re betting trillions, trillions of dollars, and they are trying to continue robbing everyone else and they’re covering themselves with words of democracy and values. They are trying to label other countries and publicly insult them. And they’re creating that image of enemy within their own countries in order to divert attention from corruption scandals within their own countries. They are diverting attention from the growing social economic problems. I would like to remind you that in 1930s, Western countries opened the path for Nazi Germany to develop. And in this century, they did this to Ukraine. And anyone who knows history and knows that this goes back to the 19th century Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and this was, they only had the single goal to separate these territories from their historic ties with our country.

There’s nothing new. Everything is repeating. History keeps repeating. They have supported the coup in 2014. And this was a bloody coup, anti-state, anti-constitution coup. And as if nothing had happened, and they even told us how much money they spent on it. The ideological basis for this was Russophobia. And it’s a shame to even say that one of the units of the Ukrainian Army was given a name, Edelweiss. Edelweiss is a name of a Nazi German unit, and they have very popular chevrons on their uniform with the German Nazi insignia. And they’ve got very marked signs on their tanks. And the neo-Nazis are not even hiding who they inherited their history from. And we see that those in power choose to close their eyes on this. Why? Because they don’t give a damn. Because they are trying to fight us. They’re trying to fight Russia. And that means they want to use anything. They want to use everyone, terrorist, Nazis, even devil himself, to use it as weapon against Russia. The project anti-Russia is a revolutionist policy against our country.

Back in the ’30s of last century and today, it’s the same idea to direct aggression to the east, to start the war in Europe using other people’s tools. And we said that we’re not fighting in Ukraine. We said that the Ukrainian people have become a hostages of their Western masters who occupied this country in political, in economic and military sense. Of decades, they were destroying Ukrainian industry and robbing the country. And as a consequence of this, it became the poverty and social division grew. And this was the material for the military actions. And of course, they turned these people into canon fodder. And this is a sad reality, but it’s a fact.

The responsibility for starting the conflict, for growing number of victims lies totally with the West and with Kyiv regime for whom Ukrainian people are not their own, effectively. This regime is not serving their national interests. They’re serving interests of foreign powers. The Ukraine is now like a training ground for them. I’m not going to talk about the plans of Western powers to increase military aid. Everyone knows about this. But one thing is very clear to everyone. The greater the range of these systems, the further away we will be forced to move the threat from our borders.

The elites of the West are not hiding their goals. They are, as they say, trying to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. What does that mean to us? That means they want to end with Russia. They want to turn a local conflict into a phase of global conflict. This is how we understand this. And we will react in an appropriate way. Because in this case, we’re talking about existence of our country. They also have to take into account that it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield. So they increase their information attacks and of course they are targeting our young generation. And of course they keep lying here. They’re twisting historic facts. They’re going against our culture, against our religious organizations.

Look at what they’ve done to their own people. They’re destroying family, national identity, they are abusing their children. Even pedophilia is announced as a normal thing in the West. And they’re recognizing same sex marriages. That’s fine that they’re adults. They’ve got the right to live their life. And we always, we’re very tolerant about this in Russian. Nobody is trying to enter private lives of people, and we’re not going to do this. However, we need to tell them, but look at the scriptures of any religion in the world. Everything is said in there. And one of the things is that family is a union of a man and a woman.

But even the sacred texts are subjected to doubt. Anglican Church is planning to consider the idea of a gender-neutral God. What can you say here? Millions of people in the West understand that they are being led to spiritual destruction. Elites are going crazy and this cannot be cured it seems. But our duty is to protect our children. And we will do this. We will protect our children from degradation. It’s obvious that the West will continue trying to destabilize our society. They’ll be using our traitors, who’ve been throughout the ages, have the same attitude to their own people, hatred for their own nation. And this was the case forever.

They are attempting terrorist attacks that are aimed at destabilizing our society. But we will never be similar to Western regimes and to Kyiv regime who are used to witch hunting. Were not going to hunt those who betrayed the motherland. Let them live with this. They have to live with it. What’s important is that citizens of Russia have to give them a moral valuation. We need to be proud that we are a multicultural nation and majority of our people have a principle position in relation to the special military operation. They understand the meaning of it. They supported our actions in Donbas and real patriotism was seen in this support. And historically, this has always been a feature of our nation.

Everyone understands the connection of their personal life to the life of their motherland. Dear friends, I’d like to thank everyone, all people of Russia for decisiveness and for their heroic attitude. I’d like to thank our offices of Navy and Army and all the forces, to the fighters of Donbas and Lugansk region, to volunteers who are fighting in different areas, and BARS as well. I apologize that I will not be able to name everyone. When I was preparing this speech, there was a long, long list of heroic units, military units. I will not be able to name all of them. I did not want to offend anyone by not naming them.

I would like to bow down to relatives and wives and parents and wives and families and doctors and instructors, nurses who are saving the wounded. To the railroad workers, construction workers who are creating the defense structures and also building homes, and engineers of defense factories who are working several shifts now, to agricultural workers who are supplying constant stream of food and products. I would like to thank teachers who are sincerely taking care of the new generation of Russians, especially those who are working in very difficult conditions near

Speaker 1 (28:00):

Near to the frontline, all the cultural figures who come to the frontline, who come to the hospitals to support them, to journalists. First of all, military journalists who are risking their lives in order to tell the truth to the whole world have representatives of traditional religions who are supporting the military entrepreneurs, government officials, everyone who is fulfilling their national and human duty. I would like to express special gratitude to citizens of Lugansk and Donetsk Republics and Zaporozhye region. You yourselves determined your future. You made your choice despite the threats of terror the Nazis, even though next to you there were military actions taking place and you made the choice to be together with Russia, to be together with your motherland. We have started and we will continue to grow. I’d like to emphasize that this reaction of our audience addressed to the citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk and Zaporozhye regions. We bow down to you. We began and we will continue our program of social restoration of these territories, and the idea is to bring back the factories and the industry and we will create access to our internal sea. Now, as of sea, we will create the new highway to Crimea and connect it to the rest of Russia. And all regions of Russia are providing direct support to cities and towns of Donetsk and Lugansk and other regions, and they’re doing it as real brothers and sisters. Today we’re together again, and that means we’re stronger again, and that means we’re going to do everything in order to bring our length back to peace and to ensure security.

It is for this, for our ancestors, for the future of our children and grandchildren in order to restore historic justice. This is what our fighters are fighting for and our heroes are fighting for. I would like to respect the memory of all fighters who died in military action and all civilians who died in this military action. Thank you. We understand that it is very hard for wives and daughters and sons of our military personnel. They have brought up very distant defenders just like our ancestors were defending Donbas. And they have got a very strong spirit and our duty is to support those families who lost loved ones and help them bring up their children. The family of every member of the special military operation needs to be surrounded with care and attention and we need to respond to their needs very, very quickly. I propose to create a special state fund whose objective would be personal help to the families and veterans of special military operation and those who died in action. This fund will coordinate social, medical, and psychological support, they will provide help in educational sport, in entrepreneurship, in providing new professions and professional development, and also long-term home care for all those who are in need of it. And I’m requesting the government and the committee on social affairs together with regions to resolve all organizational aspects of this within the shortest possible time. And also provide these services without any bureaucracy through a one window system. Every family, I emphasize, every family of a fallen soldier and every veteran of the action has to have a personal contact in this fund who will, in real time, deal with current issues. I’d like to point out that the structure of this fund has to be deployed by the end of this year. We already have measures of supporting the veterans of the great patriotic war and the veterans of other local conflicts. And we need to work on this and improve this.

I’d like to emphasize that creation of this special fund does not alleviate other structures of their responsibility. I’m expecting from all municipalities, all bodies to continue providing help to all the veterans. And we have representatives of regions who constantly are in contact with veterans, who constantly support families who go to the frontline to support the troops. We are talking about the supply, about payments and benefits in case they’re wounded and local governors addressing me and reporting to me on the result of their work. And they’re saying that there are certain issues that are not resolved yet and we need to work on those. We all understand very well that the needs of the special military operation are connected to great burden, psychological, physiological, financial. All participants of the special military operation especially, and including the volunteers, they need to have 14 days of rest every year, in addition to the travel time.

Dear colleagues, we have an approved plan of creation of a military force for the 2023, 2025, and we are working on it and correcting it as we go. And I’d like to emphasize the further steps on strengthening our navy and army. We have to rely in these steps, on our real military experience. This is extremely important. This is invaluable. For example, the level supply and readiness of our nuclear military forces is in the region of 91%. Taking into account the experience that we received, we have to achieve that level of supply for all other areas of army and navy. Offices and sergeants who demonstrates on themselves to be decisive and clever and brave, they should be forwarded to the military academies and they should become a very powerful training reserve. And they have to become people in demand, both in the military and in the civil sector. We need to understand that we need to value their contribution to the defense of our motherland.

We will continue implementing the latest technologies which will improve the quality of our army. These developments and these types of equipment and weapons are already there, some of them are exceeding the parameters of western equipment. And our objective is to create a mass production of these weapons using our own industrial and scientific base using state contracts and involving small and medium enterprise. We have scientific teams, engineering teams, and we have more and more of younger people, qualified people in these teams and we have very long traditions of weapon production and weapon manufacturing. And everything needs to be done for the victory. We need to provide guarantees for employees and we are talking about the social benefits and also salaries. And I’m proposing to provide special program for housing. And the rent in this housing would be significantly lower than the market rent and the difference will be covered by the state. That’s for the employees of the defense sector. We will work on the details of this program and we will immediately start building this housing, especially in the cities which are our military and engineering centers.

Dear colleagues, as I mentioned, the west has begun not just the military and information, but also an economic aggression, but they have not achieved success in either of these areas and they won’t achieve success there. Moreover, the initiators of the sanctions are punishing themselves. They provoked a growth of prices in their own countries, closures of factories, collapse of energy sector. They’re telling their citizens that it’s the Russians who are to blame and they’ve used different tools. They try to break commercial connections with our companies, they try to restrict our expert. And the theft, I can’t name it any other way, theft of our currency reserves and also attacks on our infrastructure. I’d like to emphasize that all sanctions are just a means, but the objective, as the West says, and I say directly, to force our citizens to suffer. This is their humanistic approach. They are trying to destabilize our society from inside, but their attempts were not justified and were not successful.

And thanks to joint work of our government, of the Bank of Russia, of the subjects of the Russian Federation of Working People, we were able to ensure stability of economic situation. We preserved employment, we supported our financial system, business people who are investing in the development of their business and therefore in the development of the country. We’ve launched a package of measures to support the economy totalling in the region of three trillion rubles. I’d like to point out that this is not a money printing policy. All of that is based on market principles. At the end of 2022, the GDP is reduced. Yesterday that information was published and I remember they were saying that our economy will drop 20, 25% and I was saying 2.9 and then later we were saying GDP reduced by 2.2%. And I’d like to remind you that in February, March, they were forecasting total collapse. Russian business has restricted its logistics and has established connections with predictable partners and there are many of those in the world, majority of them in the world. And in terms of international payments, the volume of payments has increased.

And so we will continue working with our partners with the objective to creating a stable currency environment. And these other currencies that are dominant today will continue losing its status. And it’s not just us who are reducing payments in dollars, they’re doing that themselves. Cannons instead of butter, they say. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past, we should not try to destroy our own economy. We’ve got everything in order to safely continue to develop our country, and we will continue to act. Many domestic sectors of economy, not only did not reduce, but they also increased. They increased in their size and we see that the housing, for example, increased. In terms of housing market, we built around 100 million square meters of new housing and agriculture has also seen a great success. The Russian agriculture sector harvested a record crop of 150 million ton of wheat. And we know that we will increase the volume of export to 60 million ton. And about 10, 15 years ago, this was just a dream and this was a plan that seemed to be fantastic. If you remember quite recently, we’ve got the former vice prime minister here, he will confirm, and we’ve got just the export potentially 60 million. A few years ago it was just 60 million total crop. We did not allow for the labor market to drop either. And today, in these current conditions, in these conditions of difficulties, our labor market is even more comfortable than it used to be. Remember that pre-pandemic, we had 4.7% unemployment, now it’s what, 3.7? 3.7. This is a historic minimum. And I’d like to repeat that the economy of Russia has overcome these risks. Yes, many risks were impossible to predict or calculate and we had to react very, very quickly, both at the level of the government and the level of the business. Decisions were taken very, very quickly. And private initiative played a key role in here, small and medium-sized business. We were able to avoid overregulating the sector. What’s also important is that the economic drop was only registered in the second quarter. In the third and fourth quarter, we saw a growth.

In actual fact, we are moving to a new cycle of economic development and according to our expert assessment, we are moving to a new quality of development. Our domestic market, our personnel potential, our people, all of that allows us to really uncover a great potential of Russian ill areas. And we see great growth of internal demand, domestic demand, and we have increased the production of the products that are in most demand and we were able to fill in the niche that was freed for us by western companies. And we understand the number of problems in logistics, in economy, in finance, staffing. We talked about the need for structural changes in our economy over the last few years. And today it’s vitally important, it’s necessary. And the situation has changed for the better. We know what needs to be done for a sustained development of Russia, despite any external pressure and threat. Guarantees of security and stability of the country. The whole meaning of our work is not to adapt to the current conditions. Our strategic objective is to bring our economy to a new height. Everything is changing very quickly now. This is not just a time of challenges, it’s also time of opportunities.

And our future depends on how we use these opportunities. We need to remove any intergovernmental conflicts, any conflicts within this governmental structure. Everything has to be aimed at the objective, at the result. And we need to stimulate small family run businesses. And this is a win. Creating new roads, also win, creating and opening new schools and kindergartens, this is also a win. New scientific breakthroughs, also win, and all of that are contributions to our common success. What are the areas where we have to focus on, where we have to work together between the government and the business? First of all, we have to increase our international connections and establish our new logistical roots with new partners. And we have to create the high speed road between Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Chita and so forth. We will continue developing the ports of the Black Sea and Azov Sea.

And we will especially pay attention and we’re already paying attention to the corridor north-south, Volga-Caspi Canal will open to the boats with a 4.5 meter depth and we will modernize the eastern direction of our railways. And this will ensure not just additional cargo flows, but also will help us develop Siberian far east. We will be focusing on the infrastructure of the regions, including communications, roads, and in 2024, around 85% of the roads of the largest conglomerates and also half of the national roads will be brought up to a new level of quality. We will continue our development of gas supply to various infrastructure like for example, hospitals and schools and so on, and this would be done for free. Starting from this year, we will begin a big project for modernization of our utilities and we are investing about 4.3 billion rubles into this. Everyone knows how important this is and everyone knows that there are problems in this area. It’s important that this program gets a good start straightaway and gets stable financing.

The second is that we are going to focus on development of our technological potential of our economy. We will launch industrial mortgages. Now people will be able to apply for a loan for infrastructural projects and building property for their companies. The volume of financing on these loans will be up to 500 million rubles. And this would be three to 4% interest, five to seven years. I think this is a very important program. Starting from this year, we will have a new mode of working for industrial clusters. The demand for the innovation products that is produced by these companies will be supported by the government and subsidized by the government. And we have a program up to 2030 to finance these sort of products to the tune of 10 billion rubles.

Speaker 1 (56:01):

… and I’d like to reiterate that these are not just forecasts. These are specific figures which we put in place and we will work on launching those. We are supporting business and providing systematic support, infrastructural support, tax support to the business. The taxed system has to be comprehensive and it has to be approached with a very creative, with a very creative spirit.

Starting from this year, Russian companies will be able to lower their tax burden if they are purchasing domestic IT solutions, and these costs will be accounted at the rate of 1.5. Every ruble the company invests in buying these domestic products, their tax base will be reduced by 1.5 rubles, and this will cover high technology equipment produced in Russia, and we will look deeply into this. This is a good solution which will stimulate the economy.

Third, is an important point on the agenda, is the new sources of financing and investment. Thanks to our strong balance, we do not have to ask for money abroad. We don’t have to conduct a long, lengthy dialogue about what and how much, and at what terms. Our domestic banks are stable, and they’ve got … In 2023, we saw that the financing of corporate sector has grown, has grown, and we had some doubts about this. However, we saw a growth in 2023, and this is growth compared to 2021.

In 2021, growth was 11.7% and now 14%. The mortgage portfolio has also grown by 20.4%. We’ve got development. According to the results of last year, banking sector received a profit, not as significant as in the previous years, but very significant. This is also an indicator of financial stability, of banking sector. According to our figures, inflation in Russia will be next to the … Near 4%.

I’d like to remind you that in some western countries, it’s 17%, 18%, 20%, and here we’ve got 4%, maybe 5%. There’s a dialogue with the central bank. They’re giving their own figures.

Taking into account the positive dynamics, we see that we’ve got objective conditions to lower long-term loan rates, and that means that the financing has to become more available.

What’s very important is a long-term savings of Russian citizens, and we have to stimulate that flow of that money into the investment sector, and I’d like to ask the government to look at launching a special government program from April this year to create additional conditions for citizens to invest within the country, and to make money within the country, and also to guarantee the contributions to investment companies. There has to be a similar scheme to ensuring financial deposits in banks. We know that …

Our proposed to double this figure when we talk about investing in private pension funds to the tune of 2.8 million rubles. Also, we need to stimulate investment in other financial instruments. Separate solutions are needed in order to attract capital to high tech sector, and there will be a mechanism for them to place their securities on the internal market for other companies and separate buyers.

What’s very important for financial sovereignty is freedom of entrepreneurship. The attempts to contain Russia in this regard demonstrated that Russians were able to adapt very quickly and each initiative that is supporting Russia has to have to have support from the government, and in this regard, it’s important to come back to reviewing some of the criminal code which relates to economic crime. Of course, the state has to control what’s going on in this area. You should not allow free-for-all kind of attitude, but we should not also overregulate here.

We are hoping that the government together with authorities will be very consistent in their work. I’d like to propose to create special measures which will liberate economic actions in this field.

In this regard, dear colleagues, a little philosophical aside, I’d like to mention, specifically, that we remember what problems and imbalances late Soviet economy had to face, and we remember the chaos of the ’90s, and the country started to create a new economy based on market relations. The example for us was western countries, and there were a number of consultants, as you know, but it’s not enough to just copy their models.

We know that Europeans and Americans were arguing between themselves how Russia should develop and what happened as a result of it? Our economy became western-oriented and, generally, we became the source of commodities. We understand the reasons for this, but the new forming Russian business was aimed naturally, and as other businesses around the world aimed at the extracting quick profit, and what was happening as a result of it? It was just the sale of resources of oil and gas and timber and so on, and money was not invested into long-term projects, and in order to break this negative tendency, we see this.

We needed years and years to break this, and we needed massive state investment. We have achieved visible results here. However, I would like to emphasize that we need to take into account the conditions in which our large business was developing, technologies where Western cheaper money supply was in the west, and naturally, capital started to flow there as well.

Unfortunately, instead of expanding our production, manufacturing, instead of creating employment here in our country, this capital was spent buying elite real estate, yachts, and so on. Of course, later on they started also investing here, but then the first wave was spent on consuming western goods. Where you have the riches, this is where you have your children, this is where you have your education and the future, and it was very difficult for the state to prevent this because we lived in the conditions of a free market and the latest events have demonstrated that the west was just a ghost in terms of being a safe haven, and those who saw Russia as just a source of income and were planning to live abroad, they saw that they just got robbed in the west.

Many of you remember, I just kind of joked that you will be running around western courts trying to save your wealth in the west, and this is exactly what actually happened. I’d like to add a very important point. None of the simple citizens of the country was sorry about those who lost massive bank accounts in the west, nobody was sorry about those who lost palaces and yachts in the west. In their conversations, in their own homes, I’m sure they remembered the privatization of the ’90s where the wealth of the state was directed to these hands, and also this ostentatious wealth and so on.

The west has got the objective to finish with Russia as a powerful player in the east, and they were trying to finance the terrorist and they were trying to contain our growth expansion, and the large Russian business was responsible for strategic factories where thousands of people used to work, which were determining economic situation in certain regions, which means that the management and the owners of these businesses are dependent on western powers who are hostile to our situation, and this is not a tolerable situation. Yes, everyone has a choice. Some people want to live until the end of their life in an arrested palace with arrested account somewhere abroad. It’s their right. We do not attempt to attack this, but we need to understand that to the west, these people are second-class persons, and all of these purchased titles of all the titles will not help here, and they need to understand that they are second-class citizens there, second-class persons.

But there is another choice to be with your motherland, to work for the benefit of your compatriots. Not just to open factories, but also change life around you in cities and towns. These entrepreneurs, these business people are plentiful. This is where the future of our business is. Everyone needs to understand that the sources of wealth in the future should be only here in Russia.

Then we will definitely create a very robust self-sufficient economy, which is not closed to the world, and is using all these competitive advantages. The money that is obtained here has to be spent on development of this country. We have to develop our infrastructure, tourist infrastructure, and I would like for those who faced this aggressive attitude of the west to hear me, running around begging does not make any sense. It’s futile. It’s futile, especially today, when you understand who you’re dealing with. Do not get stuck in the past. Do not try to argue in court and try to return things. You are strong people. You’ve been in this game for many years. People who went through very difficult times, start new projects, invest in Russia, invest into factories and into employment, create new infrastructure in education, sport, culture, and this is how you’ll get the gratitude of people, many generations of people in the future, and the state will support you. This is a call to our business to work in the new direction. Dear colleagues, Russia is an open country and it’s a unique civilization. There is no … We are not pretending to be special, but this is our civilization. Our ancestors passed it to us and we have to preserve it and pass it on, and we will continue developing our relationships with our friends and we will accept all the good things. But, first of all, we will rely on our own potential, on our traditions, on our values, and here I would like to talk about the character of our people. We were always generous, compassionate, and Russia, as a country reflects these qualities. We know how to be friends. We know how to keep our word and not to fail anyone, and we always support people in difficult conditions, and we always support those who are in trouble.

You remember that during pandemics we were providing support to other European countries, Italy and other countries, those who had the most difficult times. We do not forget how we help in this conditions of the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. It’s the people of Russia. It’s the basis of sovereignty, of our people and our rights of our people cannot be shaken. We are not going to step away from this basic rights of our people.

In this relation, I would like to emphasize that local elections in autumn this year, and also president election in 2024, will be conducted according to the law, following constitutional procedures. We have various approaches to resolving social issues. However, all the powers, all the forces in society have to rely on some very basic principles, safety, security, and national interests of our people.

I would like to thank you for this responsible position, and I would like to remind you of [inaudible 01:15:22] words who said this more than a hundred years ago, but this can be said today, he said that in the business of defense of Russia, we all have to unite, we have to coordinate our forces and our rights in order to support one supreme historic right, the right of Russia to be strong. Among volunteers who are on the frontline, there are members of State Duma and regional parliaments, representatives of various power levels, representatives of municipalities, all parliamentary parties, all of them participating in creating the support for the frontline. Again, I would like to express my gratitude for such patriotic stance.

A very significant role in our civil society is played by local government. These people are closest to the people and the trust to our state depends on them, and I’m asking the administration of the president together with the government to create tools of direct support for best management teams, local government teams in municipalities and local areas, those who are able to take responsibility for themselves and for their people, and in order to strengthen our core values, what’s very important is the educational system. Using the resource of the president grants and other programs that we have available, we will continue supporting our education and art, different areas of art, modern and traditional, classic. We will continue thinking about very difficult issues in life, and most important thing is not to destroy society, but to stimulate the best qualities in people.

Developing cultural sphere would be one of the priorities for Donbas [inaudible 01:18:32] areas, we will be creating hundreds of cultural institutions, including museums and centers, centers that will allow people to feel the connection between the past and the present and the future, that will allow them to feel the belonging to the single cultural space. Participation of teachers and scientists, scholars, we have to use that participation in order to create the courses for literature and geography, so that the young generation is able to learn as much as possible about our history.

We have a very talented new generation who is able to work for the benefit of our country, and it’s for these people that these new horizons are opened by these competitions that are set, so this competition of leaders of regeneration. The finalists of these competitions, some of them went to as volunteers to work on the frontline or work on the development of these new regions restoring them.

The scope of the military action is something that cannot be replaced by anything else. These are the people who are prepared to give their life for their motherland. I would like to emphasize that those who were born and grew up in Belarus and in Donbas, and who fought for the independence of these areas, need to be at the forefront of our future development. I would like to emphasize that Russia is counting on you.

Taking into account this massive tasks, we have to renew our approach to training new personnel. We talked at the council of our education. We talked about priorities that we have to focus on obtaining very specific and concrete scientific results, especially in the areas that are critical to our future development, including transport, energy, utilities, medicine, agriculture, industry.

At the basis of new technologies, there’s always fundamental sciences. Just like in culture, we have to provide scientists and researchers greater freedom for creativity. Fundamental science lives according to its own laws, and we have to give them freedom and we have to provide stimulus to young people to go into science, and we know that our best teams have got something to be proud of.

One of the issues that we discussed was housing, and we already have housing certificates for young scientists and we are allocating 1 billion rubles for these purposes. I would like government to expand this program.

We are also working on raising the prestige of secondary professional educational. We know that numbers have dropped significantly in this area, and we need that … We know that this area needs to be developed. We are creating educational, industrial clusters where factories and industry is working very closely with educational institutions, and it’s important that experienced employees who worked in manufacturing, come as teachers into these educational facilities. Our electronic industry, robotics, pharmaceutical, agriculture, construction, defense, all these industries, all these industries are aimed at ensuring security and the competitive advantage of Russia.

Finally, a very important question, very important question about our higher

Speaker 1 (01:24:00):

… higher school, higher education. We need to introduce some significant changes, take into account change in demand in all areas of our life. We need to ensure a synthesis of the best Russian experience and experience of the last 10 years. Here, we are proposing the following: First, we need to come back to the traditional basic training in the field of higher education with … The course length would be from four to six years. And with this, even within one university can offer various programs depending on the needs of the industry and needs of the market. Secondly, if there is a need for very specialized training, then the person is able to continue studying to the level of MA. And third, we will create a doctorate departments. This transition to the new system should not be sharp, it has to be a steady transition. We need to work through all aspects. We need to look at all elements. Our citizens need to have new opportunities for professional growth and professional education. I would like to reiterate opportunities, not problems. I’d like to point out that the students who are currently in education will be able to continue their education according to the existing programs, and the higher education diplomas will be as acceptable as the new ones so they should not lose their status. I’m asking this all Russian educational fund to control these aspects of the new project. Teachers are participating directly in the construction of our future, and it’s important to raise the prestige of this profession so that parents are very respectful of the teachers and the teachers are very respectful of the parents. Let’s remember it.

I would like to also talk about support for families. The so-called children’s budget has grown not just by certain percentages, it’s grown several times. And I would like to thank our members of parliament and government for this consolidated understanding of our national priorities. Starting from the 1st of February, we have increased the child benefits to 11.2%. Now, the new subjects of the Russian Federation have the same rights. We are providing mother’s capital in Lugansk and Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, to the families where children were born starting from 2007. What that means is from the moment this program started working all over Russia. I’d like to reiterate that we adopted the same approach for Crimea and Sevastopol. We have programs which are aimed at increasing welfare of Russian families, and the aim is to increase the real income of Russian families.

A very important point here is the minimum wage. It was increased twice, almost by 20% last year. And we’ll continue doing this. The pace at which this is done is higher than the inflation. So since the beginning of this year, it was indexed by 6.8%, and I’m proposing to add another 10% to it by next January. That means that the minimum wage will be 19,245 rubles, which is an increase of 18.5%. As for tax systems for Russian families, starting from last year, families with two or more children are freed from tax on sale of property. We need to actively use these instruments so that family budget has got more disposable income and so that families can focus on essential challenges. Also, I would like to propose the tax deduction for costs in relation to children’s education from 50 to 150 rubles and medical costs to 130,000 rubles. This will reduce their income tax base.

We need to also not just increase their amount to be deducted, but also applicability and the ease of use of this tool. We know that demographic situation directly depends on the state of the economy for our families, and we also need to take care of aspects of culture and support and housing, and all of these areas will be supported. So the money for national projects that were reserved in the federal budget for 2024 will be available right now. And then there will also be treasury loans, interest treasury loans that will be issued for these purposes. This is a great tool. And we will provide constant operational control over these issues. And I am asking the Committee for Economy to look after this matter.

Of course, we do not need to hurry and compromise the quality of construction for this infrastructure project. This is very important for healthcare system as well. We’ve got this massive program that we began in 2022. The main criteria, I’ve mentioned this before, the main criteria is not the figures in your reports. The main criteria is visible results in terms of accessibility of health care and quality of health care. Also, we are creating this legal basis for purchasing of new vehicles for the health care. These specialized vehicles will be able to provide health care in remote areas.

We are also working on the repair for about 3,500 schools using this program. This year we will be doing this in Donetsk and Lugansk and Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. This is a very visible program. People see the results of this program. In 2025, federal money will be provided to the repairs of kindergarten schools and professional colleges. We should not allow a situation where a building becomes dilapidated. We had a program of building 1, 300 schools from 2018-2024. We already built 850 of those, so we need to build another 400 and we need to ensure that we stick to this program. We’ve spent about 490 billion rubles on these programs since 2012 and we are not decreasing this spending.

This year we’ve increased the number of infrastructure loans that are aimed at additional, I’d like to emphasize this, not like before, we’ve allocated additional 250 billion rubles on transport infrastructure. In addition to this, we also provided 50 billion rubles which are aimed at improving public transportation in the subjects of the Russian Federation using latest technology. I would like to point out that this money will be aimed at smaller cities and towns.

We have taken the decision to extend our Project Clean Waters until 2030. The objective of it is to clean the water in industrial areas and significantly reduce the harmful discharges in the industrial areas. We are expanding our potential of treating the waste so that we have a close cycle waste treatment systems. And I’m asking the government, together with the regions, to prepare a list of those facilities where harmful discharges will be liquidated at the end of this program. We will extend this work to other rivers like Don, Irtysh, Ural, and other rivers. We should not forget our smaller rivers, and I’m pointing the attention of all levels of government to this. We’ve also prepared draft law for tourism in protected areas. This is something we discussed with the government. This law has to clarify, very clearly put out, describe what can be built and what cannot be built in different areas which are protected. And I would like to speed up the consideration of this law.

A few words about what’s going on around us: Dear colleagues, I’d like to highlight another area. At the beginning of February this year, there was a statement of North Atlantic Union with the actual requirement to Russia, as they say, to come back to the strategic weapons including inspections to our nuclear facilities. I don’t know how to call it. This is total absurd. We know that the West is directly linked to the attempts of Kyiv regime to attack our strategic aviation basis. The NATO specialist helped in directing unmanned aircraft to attack these facilities. And they want to inspect our facilities? Today this is just nonsense. It sounds like nonsense. I’d like to point out that they’re not allowing ourselves to conduct a comprehensive audit of facilities or inspection of facilities and they are declining our attempts to inspect those facilities.

I’d like to emphasize that US and NATO are directly stating that their objective is to strategically defeat Russia. And after that, are they thinking that they’re going to just tour our facilities, military facilities? Recently, we’ve passed a law to put the new strategic defense facilities in areas. Are they going to visit those as well? With a collective statement, NATO has actually attempted to become a member of this agreement, of strategic weapons control. We agree to this. We feel that this is long overdue. Nuclear arsenal is not just in America, it’s also in the UK and in France. They keep developing and they’re also aimed against us. They’re also again aimed at Russia. Their latest statements of their leaders only confirms this. We do not have the right not to take this into account. The first agreement on restricting strategic weapons was signed in 1991 with the US. This was in a principally different situation. This was in the context of mutual trust. And following that, our relationships went to such a level where US and Soviet Union stated they were no longer considering each other enemies.

The agreement of 2010 has got very significant points on indivisible security and limitation of strategic weapons, but this has been long forgotten and US has exited that agreement. Our relationships have deteriorated, and this was the initiative of the United States. It was them who wanted to review the results of the Second World War. And for this, they started to destroy all the basics of world order after the Second World War. Step by step, they started to destroy the system of world security and control of weapons. They’ve conducted a number of wars around the world. And all of that was done with a single purpose: to destroy the structure of international relations that was set up after the Second World War. And after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they have been constantly trying to reiterate their global dominance. This is not just in relation to Russia but other countries as well.

And of course the situation has changed since 1945. There are new centers of influence and they keep developing, and this is a natural objective process that cannot be ignored. What is unacceptable is that US started to restructure this only according to their own needs. And now the NATO countries are offering an ultimatum and they’re saying that, “Russia, you have to comply,” including this agreement on control of strategic weapons. They’re saying there is no connection between conflict in Ukraine and other hostile actions of the West. And their statements that they would like to inflict a strategic defeat on us, either they’re very cynical, ultimately cynical, or stupid. It looks like they’re not stupid. They are aiming to inflict the strategic defeat. So this statement that Russia is halting, putting a stop on its participation in the strategic weapons control agreement. I would like to reiterate, we are not exiting the agreement. We are putting a hold on it. Before we come back to the discussion of this, we need to understand what France and the UK are trying to do and how we are going to take into account their strategic arsenals. So their cumulative striking potential, their statement, effectively, is the application to enter this agreement. Okay, fine. And you should not try lie to everyone. We know all the backstory to this. We know that all the separate types of nuclear weapons are coming to their expiry and we know that they are thinking about testing their nuclear weapons, including the fact that in the US they are developing new types of nuclear weapons. We have this information. And in this relation, Russia has to ensure the readiness of the Russian nuclear potential. Of course, we’re not going to strike first and nobody has to have dangerous illusions that this global strategic parity can be destroyed.

Dear colleagues, dear citizens of Russia, today we are going through a very difficult path and we are overcoming all difficulties together. It could not be any other way because we are brought on the example of our ancestors, and this is passed from one generation to another. On the dedication to our unity, to our motherland, that unity has been demonstrated since the first days of the special military operation. Hundreds of volunteers, representatives of full ethnicities came to the conscription centers in order to fight for the truth, for the justice, for interests of people in Donbass. And now, shoulder to shoulder, we have fighters from all parts of Russia, and their prayers are in different languages but all of them are fighting for truth and for the motherland. Their heavy military duty, their heroic acts are finding a response in Russia. People are supporting their military and they cannot be just standing aside. The frontline is going through the millions of hearts of Russian citizens. People are doing everything they can in order to preserve the lives of our people, of our guys in the frontline. People going to the front line are taking these letters from the children because they know that these are sincere words and they understand why they’re fighting, who they’re protecting. This is the care that is provided by volunteers right from the start of the merger operation. It’s very important to them. And the volunteers are helping civilians to go to cover and provide water and clothing to civilians who live in the military actionaries. They continue saving them and saving others.

And we know that one of the funds collected over five billion rubles for the needs of the front. And this work is being conducted constantly. Companies and entrepreneurs are helping. But what’s especially touching, especially inspiring, is when people with small income are providing part of their salary or their savings to help people on the frontline. This support to our military, this support to the refugees is very important. Thank you for this support. We cannot overestimate the support.

Russia will respond to any challenges because we are all a single country. We are one big united people. We are confident in our power. Truth is with us. Thank you.

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