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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid