News / Europe

Putin Pledges to Boost Economy, Military

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia,  Dec. 12, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 12, 2012.
In his first address to parliament since taking office for an unprecedented third term, President Vladimir Putin vowed to strengthen Russia's economy and build its ailing military.

Putin addressed lawmakers, officials and clerics who gathered in the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall. During his speech, Putin said Russia will not allow other governments to influence the country's domestic policies.

Direct or indirect foreign meddling in Russia’s internal political processes is unacceptable, he said. Putin went on say individuals who receive money from abroad for their political activity, and hence serve foreign national interests, cannot be politicians in the Russian Federation.

Russian dignitarites applaud before President Vladimir Putin's state-of-the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 12, 2012.
Russian dignitarites applaud before President Vladimir Putin's state-of-the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 12, 2012.


Putin has maintained that foreign countries, mainly the United States, have been encouraging and funding the mass protests he has faced since Russian parliamentary elections last December, a charge Washington denies.

As a result, the U.S. Agency for International Development was forced to close its offices in Russia after more than 20 years of working to create a civil society there. The Kremlin claimed the organization was trying to use its money to influence politics in the country. The United States says this is not true.

In addition, non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and participate in political activities are now required to register as foreign agents, a term that dates back to Soviet times and is synonymous with espionage.

Putin's speech comes just days before the country’s opposition is expected to take to the streets to protest against him again. He took office in May during mass demonstrations, the largest the country has seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. His critics accuse him of running the government through corruption and a tightly controlled political system.

Moscow city officials have yet to give permission for the upcoming, but opposition leaders are calling on their supporters to attend despite this. If the demonstration is not sanctioned, those who participate in or organize such rallies face fines that have been increased more than 150-fold -- sums far greater than the annual salary of an average Russian. The measure is among a series of Russian laws swiftly passed this year restricting civic freedoms and foreign influence.

The Kremlin has consistently maintained that it is operating within the law and that the measures are meant to strengthen security and keep the public safe.
Critics say the new legislation is designed to suppress information and stifle dissent.

In his speech, the Russian leader acknowledged the need for change, but warned that dialogue is possible only with those political forces acting within the law. He said change and modernization of the political system are natural and even necessary. He added that paying for "the thirst for change with the destruction of the state is unacceptable."

Putin also maintained that the country’s task on the global stage will be to preserve its national and spiritual identity, adding that a strong military would most likely guarantee Russia’s independence and stability.

The president’s comments are in stark contrast to his predecessor, now Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who vowed to streamline Russia’s military by cutting costs and jobs.

Putin also promised to stamp out corruption and create 25 million new jobs and incentives for doctors, teachers and engineers, among others. Finally, he repeated a pledge to reduce Russia's heavy reliance on oil and other mineral exports and to encourage the development of the country's high-tech industry.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Norman P
December 12, 2012 11:53 PM
How nice to see that in midst of our troubled times, some things never change.

Such as the cants, empty promises, and bogeymen in Putin's policy statements.


by: patrick fallon
December 12, 2012 11:08 PM
he needs to nicely tell are president how you do that we been trying to figure that out


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
December 12, 2012 9:43 PM
For 13 years Mr Putin is known for promises to stamp out corruption without any result: among gathered in the hall were dozens officials (Serdyukov, Golikova…) marred in lost billions $ of budget money with lavish life style. In his hypocritical words Mr Putin reiterates he isn’t going to grant basic human rights in Russia as suggested by other governments. All over the country population is intimidated by bulky steel fences erected around any square in any city, by heavy police presence. There is no other day without my Internet connection being undisrupted.


by: Jim F
December 12, 2012 7:39 PM
He's going to boost the economy AND the military. That's working so well in the U.S.


by: jim terwiliger
December 12, 2012 5:49 PM
will he be putting back in some of the billions he has embezzled?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid