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Russia is on alert for US authorities planting fake evidence in Russian consulates

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called America’s actions unprecedented and aggressive.

The Duran

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The planned searches in the Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States is viewed in Moscow as an unprecedented and aggressive action, initiated by US intelligence to organise provocations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Minister-Counselor at the US Embassy in Moscow Anthony Godfrey to receive a protest note amid the plans to conduct searches in the Russian Trade Representation in the United States.

“The note stresses that the planned illicit searches of Russian diplomatic compounds in the absence of Russian officials and threats to break the entrance door is viewed as an unprecedented and aggressive action, which, by the way, can be used by US intelligence services to organize an anti-Russian provocation with the help of planted compromising items,” the ministry said in a statement.

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BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

Of course that is what it is for. It is a DIRECT provocation! The us MUST start a war with SOMEONE NOW! No war means financial and economic collapse and the end of the empire.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

ahhha they trying to bait an ex KGB a officer………….. how cute……… he has lots of patience, who cares about a consulate………… lol, Putin has better fish to fry

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Patience AND brains. In fact, every US provocation seems to backfire and make Russia stronger and more respected in the world. His life-long judo training has taught him much.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Yes. They are trying to create the PRETEXT for the COURSE OF ACTION they have already decided they are taking. They Have No More Cards Left to Play. They are out of options. 1. They are MAXED out on their credit card with NO EASY way to get another loan. (War is the only 100% way to automatically increase the U.$. debt limit with the Rothschild Fed.) 2. Investors a fleeing the U.$. market. (Even the Rothschilds have begun to diversify out of the U.$ and western market into South America and Asia.) 3. A series of Natural Disasters have… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

It sounds like you must watch and read all the same resources that I do. I think your 8 points are pretty much spot on. Not sure I’m on board with no. 3, though, the ‘more to come’ bit?

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

@ Great Expectations: Re No.3. Number three is an examination of climatic and seismic cycles. The U.$ has had a lull of geological seismic events in the West, There has been no ‘major’ earthquake on the Western Seaboard for a quarter of a century; and no ‘catastrophic’ movements for more than a century. The Ring of Fire has been very active all over the world for the last decade; from Chili, to New Zealand, Indonesia, and Japan. The U.$. Western Seaboard is the only ‘region’ not to suffer a catastrophic event in living memory (the 1800’s San Francisco quake is… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Ah yes, the Ring of Fire, I see where you’re coming from now. Totally agree with you.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

I think we may read many of the same things. It would be good to get a ‘recommended reading list’ from you. It’s hard filtering out all the Fake News that is cluttering the place up. Maybe we could put one together..?

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

As long as you’re not a CIA agent, looking for sites for Googgle to block ;). Never forget, we’re being watched on here and there are only a few of us, so it’s easy.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

@ Great Expectations: Re CIA. Yes, your right. But for those of us living in a dream land, its too late. We are ALL already on a CIA ‘threat watch’ list. We have said the wrong things in public. And this is a U.$. website. We are ALL on the list already. Re websites. Hmmm… How to create a recommended reading list without jeopardizing the security of the website we want to recommend../ I’m not sure. Most of us have similar tastes I believe. There are a couple of UkroNazis trying to sabotage things and take pleasure flaming people with… Read more »

BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

(thumbs up) ūüôā

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

BUT war with Russia and China rather than countries without a nuclear deterrent in reality means a US wasteland .

BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

So be it. If that is what they want, give it to them in spades.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

I have also come to the same conclusion whether I live or die.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor
Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

Talk is useless,actions need to be taken instead. The US clearly believes they are beyond international law. Its time to show them they aren’t. The best step would be to close permanently all US consulates in Russia. Confine diplomatic services to Moscow alone. And close all the Russian consulates in the US. Only use the Embassy in Washington DC. The UN Mission is a separate situation. If the US wants to interfere there,then the UN will need to be moved out of the US to solve that problem. If Russia and hopefully China was to threaten to withdraw from the… Read more »

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The UN does seem to be just another layer in the “Anglo-Zionist Consummate Cant” described by Nietzsche. They, at best, have delayed the inevitable showdown of the Good part of the Planet against the part that merely calls itself ‘good’, because no one else will.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

The US regime already has a bill awaiting passage to get the US out of the UN and to remove the UN from US territory….Russia and China might be best to wait and see what happens with this bill, since the US is imploding on all fronts including this one.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-23/congressman-introduces-bill-withdraw-us-united-nations

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

Also true …

Kathryn Bondoux
Guest
Kathryn Bondoux

I agree with you. The MilitaryIndustrial complex wants and needs a war. Why because they profit from it. So they keep poking the bear and the bear is getting tired of it. There has been No proof of any wrong doing by Russia but look what we have done to them. Surrounding them with UN ships and trying to get Ukraine to become a UN. What do you think we would do if the reverse happened.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

Brilliant idea!

Simon
Guest
Simon

Well, not much one can do against such threats. But I would suggest DON’T open the doors and get the RT team down there plus others, also offer $2000 reward to best alt-media video of the US breaking in and violating diplomatic premises.
That should play well, worldwide.

william D' Altruist
Guest
william D' Altruist

I’d do it for $10,000/ I’d have to use hidden go pros on my person, and triangulate at least 3 more manipulating the camera’s via computer. They’ll seal the street off at the very least… difficult situation. Can’t emagine press being allowed anywhere near the places(s). Someone should be set up already in building(s) across the street…if they’re clever… however this won’t be easy as well. The neighborhood will be absolutely swarming with CIA & secret service. This a very,very, high level security situation & absolute madness. I’m seriously wanting to leave the U.S. A type mass hysteria has affected… Read more »

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

I think you mean, “martial law”.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

“Someone should be set up already in building(s) across the street…if they’re clever… however this won’t be easy as well.”

It was easy enough when the Muellers and Comeys and Soroses of the day murdered the LAST President of the USA – J F Kennedy.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

I am waiting to see international coverage of the US’s threats/actions….so far all they are mentioning is the closing and not the US’s illegal searches.

Simon
Guest
Simon

UPDATE – Russia were much smarter then my idea. They let the RT guys film inside their empty diplomatic properties before the search.
No one will believe there was any ‘gotcha’ document left behind.

Brilliant. You have to give these guys credit when it is due.

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Have they called for a special UNSC session yet on this unprecedented, unlawful move? Could they expand on the endless breaches of international laws and principles or do we all now have to accept that these have become irrelevant at the UN?

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

I think you are rather native, believing the UNSC can accomplish anything. It is an agency run by the US for the US.

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Yes, I think you are right, but thought they could possibly show them for what they are or blatantly express is at the UN and keep on challenging it so people can see it for what it is. Probably useless whatever one does.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

More often than not, I have the feeling the UNSC is just there to rubber-stamp whatever the US does. And same goes for israel.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Jews and Zionists are ‘special’ people they are not bound by the silly UN rules for the Goyim. ūüôā

Rollo10
Guest
Rollo10

The UN was created to produce NWO, One World Government, just as the EU was. In 1917 the War to end all Wars ended, but the objective [Russia] remained so the Zionists sent in Stalin and his ‘Bolsheviks’, when this failed, they used Hitlers ambition to start WW2, this too failed when the Russians defeated the German army in Russia. They then broke up the ‘League of Nations’ and introduced United Nations, who have been acting as a ‘World Government’, introducing laws against Sovereign people Koyoto, UN Agenda 21, UN Agenda 2030, Paris Climate Agreement…….Far to many UN-ELECTED bodies are… Read more »

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Soon BRICS and independence of the petro dollar might change things as this anti-Russia nonsense does not reach far anymore.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

And US actions seem to suggest their desperation. The best hope must be that their desperate acts don’t cause any great, long-lasting harm to the rest of us and they are eventually put out of their misery.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Yes!

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

@ Rollo10 re “Far to many UN-ELECTED bodies are making laws against Sovereign people! UN, EU, IMF, BIS, WHO all protected by NATO.” Yes. It’s time for BRICS to expand. Set up a defacto “Supervisory Group” based on the Astana talks with the purpose being for promoting independent economic cooperation; with individuals “elected” (not nominated) by ‘opposing’ governments so that the representative of the Government they are Representing has no say in the issues that they are supposed to represent. This is under the philosophical premise that anyone who Wants to Be Leader, is ineligible to be leader because they… Read more »

Se√°n Murphy
Guest
Se√°n Murphy

Two can play at that game.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Just two Sean? The US has almost 300 embassies and consulates around the world.
Apparently these are the new ‘rules’ which apply to them.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Yes. These are the new rules. The U.$. reserves the right to force their way into any embassy in the world to search for evidence of crime by any country they have deemed as an Enemy of U.$. interests. This is the key term here most people will miss. U.$. INTERESTS. This is the justification. A threat to THEIR Interests. They are protecting their INTERESTS. Interests may include anything from the Oil Contract EXON hoped to sign in the Sudan; to Boeing’s “failed” bid to win a plane sales deal somewhere in Asia, to suring up U.$. reserve currency status… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

The shadow government does seem to have finally been exposed to be that insane. Someone is going to fly in Nero with his violin soon.

WalkinTheWalk
Guest
WalkinTheWalk

“Babylon is Fallen.” Listen. As early as 4 December. What comes next, it would seem, is nowise pleasant for the naive, gullible, wishful worldwide … however.

Andrew Pate
Guest
Andrew Pate

Wow 300 Embassies and yet 900 military bases to protect freedon and democracy American style. Sounds very much like a peace loving country.

ghartwell
Guest

We are living in history. How does it feel, to see America take the world down the path to war? We are living witnesses to the provocative and illegal actions of the American government. I fear how silly and childish and totally irrelevant America will look if and when the time comes when she does not just collapse economically, and in reputation but her infrastructure gets destroyed and cities infected with Biological warfare attacks. This type of action is both pathetic and deeply frightening in the face of how close you are to destruction.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The US has always done this. But they were usually better masked. I think this may be the last time.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Judging by the mass looting in Houston and the flooded areas, the US would truly revert to its past and become a Wild West with ‘Mad Max’ type figures terrorising all who survived the nuclear attacks.

Its rather funny ūüôā

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

@ Florian: “It’s rather funny.” I used to think the same; but then I started meeting and talking to some Americans. Lots of them are really nice everyday people, and many are just as horrified as us ‘aliens’ of what is happening in Washington and Wall Street. America has been pillaged by the Ruling Class and DeepState to such a degree that it is just a shell of what it once was; and it’s the poor unfortunate everyday American whom has lost their home; has no health insurance; is out of work or on an entirely insufficient disability pension after… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

I second that. And I feel the same about we British, who seem hated by some people for what the elite did to them in the past. Well, the elite did it to us too.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

Great– they did and still do it to us all — control the banks and leaders of most countries throughout the world– own and exploit their natural resources, their big corps everywhere, GMO everywhere… the list goes on and on, but for sure, they have their dirty fingers in every big pie… Local traitors in every country, part of their global club– all colours of the rainbow too.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

I concur with all that you say. However ONLY the US people can remove the parasites that now control their lives. The American people who want real change have to walk out from their Safe Spaces and stand tall. This will involve many of them losing their lives to the Zio Marxist storm troopers .
The alternative is de facto slavery with debt, actual slavery in US jails (+ Fema Camps) and complete penury for others.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

What you say is real– but they’ve never had to endure a world war on their soil– their government just continues their falsely created wars all over the world– the blood of millions of innocents on their hands all these wars on behalf of the Zio’s. But as you say, if Americans want to save their land and have a future, they will have to set their differences aside and hit the streets nationally– en masse– yes and be prepared to die while securing the futures of their children and country from those who are bent on not only US… Read more »

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

It is encouraging that so many around the globe are able to converse and learn that we are not alone in shunning US/EU policies of terror.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

On the other hand, we must consider the American people, as they too– are as controlled (perhaps even more so), been subjected to brainwashing for many decades, along with most western allied countries too– actually it applies to most nations throughout the world– their reserve banks, Rothschilds owned, their leaders often freemasons– virtual proxies really, as they must tow the line and in exchange receive all the freebies which go with such “honours.” — while living like kings, they’ve betrayed their people– sold their respective countries down the tube. Its a fact of life all over the world– people have… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

The ordinary American people are not responsible for how silly and childish the ruling men are. But these ruling men are profoundly incompetent and stupid and only succeed because of their absolute power. I watched a YT video of JFK’s assassination recently and the incompetence of these US traitors was breathtaking. But they still got away with it, didn’t they? For decades, until no one felt strongly enough about it anymore to ponder what they had done, even though many people now know he was not murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald (I’m British, by the way.). The economic collapse predicted… Read more »

–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ
Guest
–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ

You definitely didn’t look at Russia when it took Europe down the path of war, starting invasive war in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.

Rollo10
Guest
Rollo10

You have been listening to the US propaganda machine. Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, they attacked Georgia after America set the little state up and they didn’t attack Moldova, that was done by NATO > http://thesaker.is/failed-nato-invasion-of-moldova-sitrep-by-scott/

–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ
Guest
–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ

You are literally citing russian propaganda machine. In your fairy world US propaganda occupied Crimea and shot down civilian airliner.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

‘When you point the finger of blame at others, there are three fingers pointing back at you.’ That’s an old, old elitist saying, that was taught to me by an acquaintance, who had grown up knowing these men.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

Don’t mind him …. If he is not into seeking the truth with an open and fair mind, he will sadly come to feel the pain, as so many of us have experienced and still do~! That is why we are here– in a safe harbour, finding the truth behind the shameless western fake news lies, we’re constantly bombarded with.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

You put that well.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Philip, you don’t believe what you have said. Anyone who finds the Duran has already swallowed the red pill and knows what is really happening. Or, they have been directed to the Duran by someone else? So, why are you here?

–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ
Guest
–§–ł–Ľ–ł–Ņ–Ņ

Oh so this is a tinfoil hatters community. I get it now, disregard anything that I said before.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Since when has the US given a $hit about any compliance with anything.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

I think that was established with the first treaty with the Native Americans.

Guy
Member
Guy

So typical.The US is losing credibility and scrambling to demonize Russia in any way they can .At least Russia knows what they are up to.

WalkinTheWalk
Guest
WalkinTheWalk

“U.S.” equals “Deep State” that is “controlled” by whom, where … it is not clear for good reason (but absolute control since the removal of last American President, John F. Kennedy) RIP

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

The US is run by gangsters; real gangsters. The same gangsters that organised the killing of JFK. So rules don’t apply to them and never have.

Guy
Member
Guy

It is run by the mafia.Not necessarily the Italian mafia,although they are still part of it.”Operation Gladio ” by Paul L.Williams .It is a mafia that has morphed , now with world wide tentacles .Drugs , prostitution ,money laundering , big banks ,big business , CIA , Mossad , Vatican and on and on.It is not a pretty picture .

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Yes, I watched a three hour long YT video the other day, Francis Connolly’s ‘ From JFK to 911: Everything is a rich man’s trick’. Interesting because, unusually, he is English (so much geopolitics begins and ends in America) and I’d never heard of him but I found something somewhere that described him as a school history teacher in the past. There was both praise and condemnation for what he had to say but it was worth watching, I thought. The reason I mention it is because he stressed the idea that the US mafia were heavily involved in his… Read more »

K Walker
Guest
K Walker

After going through Russiagate for over a year, I think Russia should fear the planting of evidence, as should the American pubic. I agree that the RT press or trusted witnesses with cameras should be around this building 24/7. San Francisco has lost its way but I do not think these orders came from the City government.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Any ‘evidence’ from this outrage will have as much value as the ‘evidence’ of tortured innocents at Guantanamo Bay.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Yes. The chances of FABRICATED evidence being planted are high. Everyone, including law enforcement knows that ‘if a criminal’ suspect they someone may be onto them or about to ‘bust them’ then they will destroy the evidence to avoid incrimination. Now, this isn’t to suppose that Russia is guilty of ‘election meddling’ like the U.$. is with countless countries over the years; but I probable don’t need to point out that the prospect that the U.$. Law Enforcement services ARE coming into the building will 100% guarantee that ‘any evidence’ that was there will 100% be destroyed. So, any evidence… Read more »

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

How about booby trapping the building? If no one has the right to be there than they get whatever is coming to them no.???

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Brilliant! Do you want to make them nuclear? you know, just the tactical kind the U.S. has used in Syria (and Yemen? or was that the Zionist entity?).

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Nah, just your average house/garden/kitchen variety boobytrap will do, just to send a messageūüėĀ

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

I imagine that is something the US regime might do to the building….blow it up while the FBI and gang are “searching” the building then blame it on Russia, saying they set the bombs. Who in the US population would not accept it as their MSM pushes it as a “reason” for all out war with Russia?

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Very Machiavellian..yikes

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

But a true possibility from the masters at the game of false flags!

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Yes I know and that scares the hell out of me.

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

gasoline is simple and effective

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

You just know, there will be false flags planted there today!!!!!! Beat them at their own game, the slime-balls!!!! Can’t wait to see Trumps involvement, hypocrite!!!

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“Can’t wait to see Trumps involvement”

Apparently it was Trump himself that ordered the closing: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201709011056979584-trump-consulate-general-closed-himself/

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

Trump is a liar….who said his Kol Nidre prayers

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Trump could have been: genuine and overthrown; a Trojan horse from the beginning; or a modern day Faustus. There are so many conflicting ideas and facts about what he has said and done over the past couple of years, it’s impossible to say. But, what really matters are the outcomes, not his motives. Debates about his motives are a deliberate distraction, to stop people looking in the right direction for answers to what is happening, what will happen, and who are responsible.

Aurelio Ferdinand
Guest
Aurelio Ferdinand

Its the ”Deep State” working at the behest of the ”Zionist/Global Cabal” centered around the British (Brutish) Monarchy.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

@ Aureio: re: Its the ”Deep State” working at the behest of the ”Zionist/Global Cabal”

Yes. Bibi just came back empty handed from Sochi (–°–ĺŐĀ—á–ł) after grovelling to Putin. It didn’t go very well. So, time to ‘up the ante.’

There will be may ‘pretexts’ ‘discovered’ around the globe. I thought the ‘750 billion email addresses that were hacked’ was one of the ‘Russia Did It’ campaigns, but no one has proffered that in the media yet (give it time though).

Desperation levels are rising in the U.$. and IsraHell. Things are not going well for them.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Orwellian Law is about to be implemented. Your communications are being monitored in violations of state and international law. The U.$. DeepState is about to force their way into the private premises of a country they have CLASSIFY is the ENEMY and written as such into law. They have already decided there WILL BE NO PEACE, and blocked the highest office of the land from pursuing such an objective. The U.$. DeepState are going to LOOK for evidence of a crime, without supervision; in breach of international law, without any independent party to examine their actions; and without any legal… Read more »

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

So true, time for Bitcoin although I would not know where to start buying it safely. Do you?

Michelxya
Guest
Michelxya

America is a terrorist. How long will it take before the world understands.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

I don’t think the tipping point will ever be reached.

Michelxya
Guest
Michelxya

I think the tipping point is already in the past ūüėČ

Cale
Guest
Cale

There is not much diplomacy possibilities left for Russia to talk to Washington. It seems that US politicians have become insane.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Desperate men do desperate things. Fortunately, Putin and Lavrov are wise.

Sara Bridge Reinhardt
Guest
Sara Bridge Reinhardt

what the whole anti-russia sentiment is about in the intel agencies is that the deep state is threatened by a possible joint frce for good that US and Russia could and would be: two giant CHristian nations working together could rid the world of the deep state pedos obombya was pissed of when Putin was a real man, and obombya was not; because Putin would not accept the politcal agenda of gay rights, he became an “outsider” to be destroyed: Ukraine takeover vy fascists, border aggresson by NATO,NOTHING TOO EVIL TO PUT rUSSIA IN BAD LIGHT GOD WILL REDUCE THESE… Read more »

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

That is the first thought which concerned me too… planting fake evidence…

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Re Several Posts Below. About 2006 there was a news article on ABC Australia News TV and it was about the then elect President Bill Clinton giving an award to the NSA. The award was for “providing intelligence to U.$. industry which helped secure Boeing winning a contract against the Brazilian Airline Industry. After this example of how U.$. Government Secret Intelligence Services could be used to successfully promote U.$. industry over the industries of foreign countries, a bill was passed (and I don’t know what number it was, the news didn’t go into that), requiring the U.$. intelligence agencies… Read more »

disqus_1Op5S8jvui
Guest
disqus_1Op5S8jvui

Russia shall search all US facilities in Russia.

AlexanderAmproz
Guest
AlexanderAmproz

It’s ironic to say,

but Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China saved the “Free World”

from the US insatiable thirst to Colonize the World !

Latest

Putin’s State of the Nation in review Part I – Military policy

“It seems that our partners fail to¬†notice the¬†depth and¬†pace of¬†change around the¬†world and¬†where it is headed.”

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his yearly State of the Nation speech on February 20th, 2019. Last year’s speech, given March 1, was a real topic of amazement for both Russia and the West, as the president revealed the new hypersonic weaponry that the Russian Federation has been developing, as well as other extremely sophisticated means of defense for the nation. At first the West mocked these claims, but time proved Mr. Putin correct.

This year’s speech appears to be quite different in its focus, though of course the President had to discuss the matters of the defense of his nation and its response to pressure from the Western powers, most notably the United States and Great Britain. While the main focus of his speech, and indeed, this last presidential term, is on domestic issues within Russia, he had to still discuss military matters, which is what the Western media reacted to. Here is that section of the speech. We have reprinted it in full, but the emphases and comments that break the segment of the speech are ours:

Colleagues, Russia has been and always will be a sovereign and independent state. This is a given. It will either be that, or will simply cease to exist. We must clearly understand this. Without sovereignty, Russia cannot be a state. Some countries can do this, but not Russia.

Sound familiar, America?

Building relations with Russia means working together to find solutions to the most complex matters instead of trying to impose solutions. We make no secret of our foreign policy priorities. These include strengthening trust, countering global threats, promoting cooperation in the economy and trade, education, culture, science and technology, as well as facilitating people-to-people contact. These tenets underpin our work within the UN, the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as within the Group of 20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

We believe in the importance of promoting closer cooperation within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, including close foreign policy and economic coordination. Together with our integration partners within the Eurasian Economic Union, we will continue creating common markets and outreach efforts. This includes implementing the decisions to coordinate the activities of the EAEU with China’s Belt and Road initiative on the way to a greater Eurasian partnership.

Russia’s equal and mutually beneficial relations with China currently serve as an important factor of stability in international affairs and in terms of Eurasian security, offering a model of productive economic cooperation. Russia attaches importance to realising the potential of the special privileged strategic partnership with India. We will continue to promote political dialogue and economic cooperation with Japan. Russia stands ready to work with Japan on finding mutually acceptable terms for signing a peace treaty. We intend to promote deeper ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

(Russia and Japan never concluded a treaty to end World War II, and negotiations continue to this day, even as commerce has redeveloped between the two countries.)

We also hope that the European Union and the major European countries will finally take actual steps to put political and economic relations with Russia back on track. People in these countries are looking forward to cooperation with Russia, which includes corporations, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and European businesses in general. It goes without saying that this would serve our common interests.

This is significant and underreported in the United States news media, if not ignored outright. Americans usually get a strange “half” of the news, talking about the US trying to sell LNG to European allies at a high price when Russia, a huge producer of natural gas, is right next door (we will discuss this more in a companion piece).

And now we come to the heart of the matter, at least insofar as this issue makes the news in both countries.

The¬†unilateral withdrawal of¬†the¬†USA from the¬†INF Treaty is the¬†most urgent and¬†most discussed issue in¬†Russian-American relations. This is why I¬†am compelled to¬†talk about it in¬†more detail. Indeed, serious changes have taken place in¬†the¬†world since the¬†Treaty was signed in¬†1987. Many countries have developed and¬†continue to¬†develop these weapons, but not Russia or¬†the¬†USA¬†‚Äď we have limited ourselves in¬†this respect, of¬†our own free will. Understandably, this state of¬†affairs raises questions. Our American partners should have just said so honestly rather than make far-fetched accusations against Russia to¬†justify their unilateral withdrawal from the¬†Treaty.

It would have been better if they had done what they did in¬†2002 when they walked away from the¬†ABM Treaty and¬†did so openly and¬†honestly. Whether that was good or¬†bad is another matter. I¬†think it was bad, but they did it and¬†that is that. They should have done the¬†same thing this time, too. What are they doing in¬†reality? First, they violate everything, then they look for¬†excuses and¬†appoint a¬†guilty party. But they are also mobilising their satellites that are cautious but still make noises in¬†support of¬†the¬†USA. At¬†first, the¬†Americans began developing and¬†using medium-range missiles, calling them discretionary ‚Äútarget missiles‚ÄĚ for¬†missile defence. Then they began deploying Mk-41 universal launch systems that can make offensive combat use of¬†Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles possible.

I¬†am talking about this and¬†using my¬†time and¬†yours because we have to¬†respond to¬†the¬†accusations that are leveled at¬†us. But having done everything I¬†have just described, the¬†Americans openly and¬†blatantly ignored the¬†provisions envisaged by¬†articles 4 and¬†6 of¬†the¬†INF Treaty. According to¬†Item 1, Article VI (I¬†am quoting): ‚ÄúEach Party shall eliminate all intermediate-range missiles and¬†the¬†launchers of¬†such missiles‚Ķ so that‚Ķ no such missiles, launchers‚Ķ shall be possessed by¬†either party.‚ÄĚ Paragraph 1 of¬†Article VI provides that (and¬†I¬†quote) ‚Äúupon entry into force of¬†the¬†Treaty and¬†thereafter, neither Party may produce or¬†flight-test any intermediate-range missile, or¬†produce any stages or¬†launchers of¬†such missiles.‚ÄĚ End of¬†quote.

Using medium-range target missiles and deploying launchers in Romania and Poland that are fit for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, the US has openly violated these clauses of the Treaty. They did this some time ago. These launchers are already stationed in Romania and nothing happens. It seems that nothing is happening. This is even strange. This is not at all strange for us, but people should be able to see and understand it.

And then comes the part that the Western media seized upon in their continuing campaign to malign and demonize both the Russian Federation and its president:

How are we evaluating the¬†situation in¬†this context? I¬†have already said this and¬†I¬†want to¬†repeat: Russia does not intend¬†‚Äď this is very important, I¬†am repeating this on¬†purpose¬†‚Äď Russia does not intend to¬†deploy such missiles in¬†Europe first. If they really are built and¬†delivered to¬†the¬†European continent, and¬†the¬†United States has plans for¬†this, at¬†least we have not heard otherwise, it will dramatically exacerbate the¬†international security situation, and¬†create a¬†serious threat to¬†Russia, because some of¬†these missiles can reach Moscow in¬†just 10‚Äď12 minutes. This is a¬†very serious threat to¬†us. In¬†this case, we will be forced, I¬†would like to¬†emphasise this, we will be forced to¬†respond with mirror or¬†asymmetric actions. What does this mean?

I am saying this directly and openly now, so that no one can blame us later, so that it will be clear to everyone in advance what is being said here. Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centres for the missile systems threatening us.

What is important in this regard? There is some new information. These weapons will fully correspond to the threats directed against Russia in their technical specifications, including flight times to these decision-making centres.

This was the source of “media-induced” outrage in the West, which is honestly, likely not that much outrage. However, the addition of context in this speech is invaluable, and while the counter from the Americans may or may not be able to stipulate chapter and verse the violations of the INF treaty from the Russian side (though there appear to be no such violations), the Americans’ actions are clearly set in context, though conveniently ignored by the propagandists of the Western media. President Putin continues, making the most important points of his speech in regard to this topic:

We know how to do this and will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the threats to us become real. I do not think we need any further, irresponsible exacerbation of the current international situation. We do not want this.

What would I like to add? Our American colleagues have already tried to gain absolute military superiority with their global missile defence project. They need to stop deluding themselves. Our response will always be efficient and effective.

The work on promising prototypes and weapon systems that I spoke about in my Address last year continues as scheduled and without disruptions. We have launched serial production of the Avangard system, which I have already mentioned today. As planned, this year, the first regiment of the Strategic Missile Troops will be equipped with Avangard. The Sarmat super-heavy intercontinental missile of unprecedented power is undergoing a series of tests. The Peresvet laser weapon and the aviation systems equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles proved their unique characteristics during test and combat alert missions while the personnel learned how to operate them. Next December, all the Peresvet missiles supplied to the Armed Forces will be put on standby alert. We will continue expanding the infrastructure for the MiG-31 interceptors carrying Kinzhal missiles. The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile of unlimited range and the Poseidon nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle of unlimited range are successfully undergoing tests.

In this context, I would like to make an important statement. We did not announce it before, but today we can say that as soon as this spring the first nuclear-powered submarine carrying this unmanned vehicle will be launched. The work is going as planned.

Today I also think I can officially inform you about another promising innovation. As you may remember, last time I said we had more to show but it was a little early for that. So I will reveal little by little what else we have up our sleeves. Another promising innovation, which is successfully being developed according to plan, is Tsirkon, a hypersonic missile that can reach speeds of approximately Mach 9 and strike a target more than 1,000 km away both under water and on the ground. It can be launched from water, from surface vessels and from submarines, including those that were developed and built for carrying Kalibr high-precision missiles, which means it comes at no additional cost for us.

On a related note, I want to highlight that for the defence of Russia’s national interests, two or three years ahead of the schedule set by the state arms programme, the Russian Navy will receive seven new multipurpose submarines, and construction will begin on five surface vessels designed for the open ocean. Sixteen more vessels of this class will enter service in the Russian Navy by 2027.

To conclude, on the unilateral withdrawal by the USA from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, here is what I would like to say. The US policy toward Russia in recent years can hardly be called friendly. Russia’s legitimate interests are being ignored, there is constant anti-Russia campaigning, and more and more sanctions, which are illegal in terms of international law, are imposed without any reason whatsoever. Let me emphasise that we did nothing to provoke these sanctions. The international security architecture that took shape over the past decades is being completely and unilaterally dismantled, all while referring to Russia as almost the main threat to the USA.

Let me say outright that this is not true. Russia wants to have sound, equal and friendly relations with the USA. Russia is not threatening anyone, and all we do in terms of security is simply a response, which means that our actions are defensive. We are not interested in confrontation and we do not want it, especially with a global power like the United States of America. However, it seems that our partners fail to notice the depth and pace of change around the world and where it is headed. They continue with their destructive and clearly misguided policy. This hardly meets the interests of the USA itself. But this is not for us to decide.

We can see that we are dealing with proactive and talented people, but within the elite, there are also many people who have excessive faith in their exceptionalism and supremacy over the rest of the world. Of course, it is their right to think what they want. But can they count? Probably they can. So let them calculate the range and speed of our future arms systems. This is all we are asking: just do the maths first and take decisions that create additional serious threats to our country afterwards. It goes without saying that these decisions will prompt Russia to respond in order to ensure its security in a reliable and unconditional manner.

I have already said this, and I will repeat that we are ready to engage in disarmament talks, but we will not knock on a locked door anymore. We will wait until our partners are ready and become aware of the need for dialogue on this matter.

This is an appropriate and very honest stance. While it sounds forceful, it is not. It is actually the only thing one really can do. The US hawkish folks have not demonstrated the slightest interest in fixing this problem. In the US, they believe the exacerbation of tensions suits their ends.

This is a potentially tragic example of “my mind is made up; do not confuse me with the facts.” And sadly, the United States of America stands completely in the wrong on this matter.

We continue developing our Armed Forces and improving the intensity and quality of combat training, in part, using the experience we gained in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria. Much experience was gained by practically all the commanders of the Ground Forces, by covert operations forces and military police, warship crews, army, tactical, and strategic and military transport aviation.

I would like to emphasise again that we need peace for sustainable long-term development. Our efforts to enhance our defence capability are for only one purpose: to ensure the security of this country and our citizens so that nobody would even consider pressuring us, or launching an aggression against us.

While the rhetoric of “Defense” is always more palatable in our times than militarily offensive strategies, the difference between the defense rhetoric of the US and that of Russia is that the US creates threats out of thin air. Russia and China have the capability of taking over the world, but neither country is actually interested in doing such a thing. As noted by Russia’s own Vladimir Zhirinovsky, to be on top is not the best place, and the second and third great powers have shown unusual wisdom in understanding this.

 

 

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Putin’s speech focuses on domestic issues as media pushes missile warning (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 88.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran‚Äôs Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Vladimir Putin’s¬†annual address to¬†Russian lawmakers, where the¬†Russian President warned¬†the United States not to¬†deploy medium and short-range nuclear missiles in¬†Europe, saying it would “dramatically exacerbate the international security situation” and create serious challenges to¬†Russia.

Putin noted that¬†“this is a very serious threat to¬†us. In this case, we will be forced – I want to¬†emphasize this – forced to¬†take tit-for-tat steps.”

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You can watch the video in its entirety here. Full transcript of the speech here.

Meduza¬†summarizes the 88-minute spectacle below…

Vladimir Putin has delivered yet another annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly (a speech similar to the U.S. president’s State of the Union Address). You can watch a video of the whole thing here and read a transcript of the speech here. Meduza summarizes the 88-minute spectacle below.

‚ÄúNational projects are built around people.‚Ä̬†And you can‚Äôt fool people. People care what is done right now. Russia has colossal resources to grow and develop, and it owes these resources to its industrious citizenry.

‚ÄúWe have been doing and will continue to do everything possible to strengthen family values.‚Ä̬†Russia‚Äôs birth rate is falling, thanks to losses in the Second World War and in the 1990s. The country needs to be growing its population again by 2023. Russia must establish the principle of ‚Äúmore children, lower taxes.‚ÄĚ The state knows where to find the money for these goals.

‚ÄúPoverty literally crushes people, depriving them of life prospects.‚Ä̬†There used to be 40 million people in Russia living below the poverty line. Today, there are only 19 million. A social contract will help lower this number further, where the state allocates money so people can find work or receive training. Additional payments for pensions and other benefits shouldn‚Äôt depend on the subsistence minimum.

‚ÄúPeople often have to wait days to see a needed specialist.‚ÄĚBy late 2020, people in any town should have access to medical care, which isn‚Äôt true today. Russians need a new outpatient care standard and they need electronic document management, so people aren‚Äôt required to produce doctor‚Äôs certificates.

‚ÄúWaste problems have been ignored for a century.‚Ä̬†The country has too many over-capacity landfills. And why have officials issued permits for the construction of homes near these dumps? ‚ÄúShady businesses are cashing in on this.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúRoughly 200,000 kids are still going to schools where there is no heating, running water, or indoor plumbing.‚Ä̬†This problem needs to be solved within two years. Russia needs a school-focused version of ‚ÄúZemskaya Medicine‚ÄĚ (the 19th-century initiative to provide free medical care in rural Russia). The state should pay educators to move to villages and small towns.

‚ÄúNothing pure remains abroad.‚Ä̬†Thanks to Russian scientists, the country is completely self-sufficient when it comes to wheat seeds. Russia should create its own national brand of ‚Äúgreen‚ÄĚ products.

‚Äú[Investigators] lock up suspects and then go on vacation.‚ÄĚRussia still hasn‚Äôt found a way to relieve the state pressure exerted on the business community. For every one entrepreneur whose business collapses, 130 employees lose their jobs. Why does Russia treat ordinary corporate work like criminal collusion? Why are arrests prolonged unreasonably? State prosecutors and the Investigative Committee should review businesspeople‚Äôs complaints without delay. By 2021, Russia should eliminate all outdated regulations and guidelines completely and replace them with new ones.

‚ÄúWe will quietly tell them what we have in store.‚Ä̬†Soon Russia will complete work on the latest ‚ÄúZircon‚ÄĚ hypersonic cruise missile, which can reach the speed of Mach 9, and could be deployed on the same ships currently outfitted with ‚ÄúKalibr‚ÄĚ cruise missiles.

‚ÄúRussia doesn‚Äôt plan to be the first to deploy such missiles in Europe.‚Ä̬†The global situation has changed since the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed in 1987, but now the United States is violating everything itself and then looking for excuses. Moscow will respond in kind and asymmetrically: Russia‚Äôs weapon systems will be capable of striking not only missile launchers, but also at decision-making centers. Russia will either survive as a sovereign state or it won‚Äôt exist at all. ‚ÄúSome countries can [exist as vassals], but Russia cannot.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúRussia isn‚Äôt threatening anyone.‚Ä̬†Russia is only responding and defending itself. The Americans are fond of pondering their own exceptionalism. ‚ÄúLet them count the range and speed of our advanced weapon systems.‚ÄĚ In the end, Russians need peace to attain sustainable development.

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Vladimir Putin: 2019 State Of The Union Address To Russia’s Federal Assembly (Full Text)

In 2019 State of the Union Address Russian President Putin outlines massive investment programme to upgrade Russia’s heath and education services and its scientific and communications infrastructure.

The Duran

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This is the official translation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s State of the Union Address to Russia’s Federal Assembly as first published by the Kremlin’s website.

Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, citizens of Russia,

Today’s Address is primarily devoted to matters of domestic social and economic development. I would like to focus on the objectives set forth in the May 2018 Executive Order and detailed in the national projects. Their content and the targets they set are a reflection of the demands and expectations of Russia’s citizens. People are at the core of the national projects, which are designed to bring about a new quality of life for all generations. This can only be achieved by generating momentum in Russia’s development.

These are long-term objectives that we have set for ourselves. However, work to achieve these strategic goals has to begin today. Time is always in short supply, as I have already said on numerous occasions, and you all know this all too well. There is simply no time for getting up to speed or making any adjustments. All in all, I believe that we have already completed the stage of articulating objectives and outlining tools for achieving our goals. Departing from the targets that were outlined would be unacceptable. It is true that these are challenging objectives. That being said, lowering the requirements for specific targets or watering them down is not an option. As I have already said, these are formidable challenges that require us to undertake major efforts. However, they are in step with the scale and pace of global change. It is our duty to keep pushing ahead and gaining momentum.

If someone prefers to¬†work in¬†the¬†business as¬†usual mode, without challenges, avoiding initiative or¬†responsibility, they had better leave immediately. I¬†already hear that some things are ‚Äúimpossible,‚ÄĚ ‚Äútoo difficult,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúthe¬†standards are too high,‚ÄĚ and¬†‚Äúit will not work.‚ÄĚ With such an¬†attitude, you had better stay away.

Besides, you cannot fool the people. They are acutely aware of hypocrisy, lack of respect or any injustice. They have little interest in red tape and bureaucratic routine. It is important for people to see what is really being done and the impact it has on their lives and the lives of their families. And not sometime in the future, but now. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past decades and wait for communism to arrive. We have to change the situation for the better now.

Therefore, the work of the executive branch at all levels should be coordinated, meaningful and energetic. The Government of Russia must set the tone.

At the same time, I would like to emphasise and repeat: our development projects are not federal and even less so agency-based. They are national. Their results must be visible in each region of the Federation, in every municipality. It is here, on the ground, that the majority of specific tasks is implemented.

Allow me to¬†underscore: thanks to¬†years of¬†common work and¬†the¬†results achieved, we can now direct and¬†concentrate enormous financial resources¬†‚Äď at¬†least enormous for¬†our country¬†‚Äď on¬†development goals. These resources have not come as¬†a¬†rainfall. We have not borrowed them. These funds have been earned by¬†millions of¬†our citizens¬†‚Äď by¬†the¬†entire country. They need to¬†be applied to¬†increase the¬†wealth of¬†Russia and¬†the¬†wellbeing of¬†Russian families.

Very soon, this year people should feel real changes for the better. It is on the basis of their opinion and assessments at the beginning of next year that we will evaluate the first results of our work on the national projects. And we will draw the appropriate conclusions about the work quality and performance at all levels of executive power.

Colleagues,

Let me now share some specifics on our objectives. I will begin with the key objective of preserving our nation, which means providing all-around support to families.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. Photo: TASS

Family, childbirth, procreation and respect for the elderly have always served as a powerful moral framework for Russia and its multi-ethnic people. We have been doing everything in our power to strengthen family values and are committed to doing so in the future. In fact, our future is at stake. This is a task shared by the state, civil society, religious organisations, political parties and the media.

Russia has entered an extremely challenging period in terms of demographics. As you know, the birth rate is declining. As I have already said, this is caused by purely objective reasons, which have to do with the immense human losses and birth dearth experienced by our country in the 20th century, during the Great Patriotic War and the dramatic years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This does not mean, however, that we must accept this situation or come to terms with it. Definitely, not.

We succeeded in¬†overcoming the¬†negative demographic trends in¬†the¬†early 2000s, when our country faced extreme challenges. This seemed to¬†be an¬†impossible challenge at¬†the¬†time. Nevertheless, we succeeded, and¬†I¬†strongly believe that we can do it again by¬†returning to¬†natural population growth by¬†late 2023¬†‚Äď early 2024.

Today, I wanted to talk about a new package of measures that has already been prepared to support families.

First, it is important that having children and bringing them up do not put families at the risk of poverty or undermine their wellbeing. As you know, we have already provided for the payment of subsidies for the first two children until they reach 18 months. Benefits for the first child are paid from the federal budget, and families can use the maternity capital subsidy for obtaining benefits for their second child. The size of the subsidy depends on the regional subsistence level for a child. It may vary from 8,000 rubles in Belgorod Region, for example, to 22,000 rubles in Chukotka Autonomous Area, with the national average of over 11,000 rubles a month per child. Currently these allocations are reserved to families whose income does not exceed the subsistence wage multiplied by 1.5 per person. It is time that we make the next step.

Starting January 1, 2020, I propose raising the bar to two subsistence wages per family member. This is what people have requested and these requests come directly into the Executive Office. This measure will increase the number of families entitled to additional benefits by almost 50 percent. Some 70 percent of families with one or two children will be able to benefit from help from the Government.

Second. At present, carers looking after children with disabilities and people disabled since childhood receive an allowance of only 5,500 rubles. I suggest increasing this to 10,000 rubles, starting July 1. Of course, I understand that it is still a small amount. However, it will be an additional measure of support for families with a child who needs special care.

Third. The income of Russian families must, of course, increase. This is a serious task that requires a comprehensive solution. I will speak about this in greater detail later. But we need direct measures. First of all, the tax burden on families needs to be relieved. The approach should be very simple: the more children there are, the lower the tax. I propose increasing federal tax relief on real estate for families with many children. I also propose lifting taxes on 5 square metres in a flat and 7 square metres in a house per each child.

What does this mean? If, for example, right now, 20 square metres in a flat are not subject to tax, the new measure will mean that for a family with three children, an extra 15 square metres will not be subject to tax. Regarding plots of land that belong to families with many children, I propose that 600 square metres should be exempt from tax, and this means most plots of land will be free from taxation. Let me remind you that this benefit is already available to pensioners and people of pre-retirement age. Of course, in many Russian regions there are local tax benefits on land and property for large families. However, the benefit being imposed at the federal level guarantees that it will be available everywhere in the country. I want to ask regional officials to propose additional tax measures to support families with children.

Fourth, the Government and the Central Bank need to consistently maintain the policy to lower mortgage rates to 9 percent, and then to 8 percent or below, as stipulated in the May 2018 Executive Order. At the same time, special measures of support should be provided for families with children, of course. As a reminder, last year, a preferential mortgage programme was launched for families that have had their second or subsequent child. The rate for them is 6 percent. Anything higher is subsidised by the state. However, only 4,500 families have used the benefit.

The question is why. It means that people are somehow dissatisfied with the proposed conditions. But it is also clear why. A family making a decision to buy housing certainly makes plans for a long or at least medium term, a lasting investment. But with this programme, they take out a loan, start paying the instalments, and the grace period ends. The interest is actually subsidised only for the first 3 or 5 years. I propose extending the benefit for the entire term of the mortgage loan.

Yes, of course, it will require additional funding, and the cost will be rather high: 7.6 billion rubles in 2019, 21.7 billion rubles in 2020, and 30.6 billion rubles in 2021. But the programme is estimated to reach as many as 600,000 families. We certainly need to find the money. We know where to get it. We have it, and we just need to use it in the areas that are of major importance to us.

And one more direct action solution. Considering the sustainability and stability of the macroeconomic situation in the country and the growth of the state’s revenues, I consider it possible to introduce another measure of support for families having a third and subsequent children. I suggest paying 450,000 rubles directly from the federal budget to cover this sum from their mortgage. Importantly, I propose backdating this payment starting January 1, 2019, recalculating it and allocating relevant sums in this year’s budget.

Let us see what we have. If we add this sum to the maternity capital, which can also be used for mortgage payments, we will get over 900,000 rubles. In many regions, this is a substantial part of the cost of a flat. I would like to draw the attention of the Government and the State Duma to this issue. If need be, the budget will have to be adjusted accordingly. An additional 26.2 billion rubles will be required for this in 2019. The relevant figures for 2020 and 2021 are 28.6 billion rubles and 30.1 billion rubles, respectively. These are huge funds but they should be allocated and used in what I have already described as a very important area.

It is necessary to give families an opportunity not only to buy ready-made housing but also to build their own housing on their land. I would like to ask the Government to draft in cooperation with the Central Bank convenient and, most importantly, affordable financial instruments for supporting private housing construction because it is not covered by mortgage loans today.

And, last but not least, the tax on land must be fair. Obviously, the cadastral or market value of a land plot can change but tax rates must not go up and down unpredictably like roller coaster rides. We have already limited to 10 percent the annual growth of the tax rates for residential property. I suggest establishing the same limit for land plots.

Moving on, today, when construction companies build social facilities and transfer them to the state or municipalities, they have to pay profit tax and VAT. We need to relieve construction companies of this burden (including our innovations in the construction sector). This will serve as an impetus for the comprehensive development of cities and townships, ensuring that families have everything they need near their homes: clinics, schools and sports facilities. By doing this, we will enable parents to work, study, live happily and enjoy parenthood.

We have come close to guaranteeing universal access to kindergartens, but by the end of 2021, we will have to resolve the problem with nurseries by enabling them to accept 270,000 more children, including in the private sector, with 90,000 places to be created as early as this year. The federal and regional budgets should allocate 147 billion rubles for this purpose, over a three-year period. Let me add that enrolling in a nursery group, kindergarten, getting subsidies, benefits or the tax deductions that I have already mentioned and, I hope, that we will come up with, together with you, all this should happen without any additional applications, excessive paperwork or having to visit various social services. By the end of 2020, all the key government services must be provided in a proactive format where a person will only need to send in a request for a service that he or she needs, and the system will take care of all the rest independently and automatically.

I would like to emphasise that the package of measures to support families proposed today is not an exhaustive list of initiatives. It sets the priorities. Considering the challenges posed by the state of Russia’s demographics, we will continue to channel more and more resources into this area. I ask all of you, colleagues, including both the Government and the Federal Assembly, to think about it and suggest solutions.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Colleagues, solving our demographic problems, increasing life expectancy and¬†reducing mortality rates are directly related to¬†eradicating poverty. Allow me to¬†remind you that in¬†2000, there were more than 40 million people living below the¬†poverty line. Now there are about 19 million, but this is still too many, too many. However, there was a¬†time when their number dropped to¬†15 million, and¬†now it has grown a¬†little again. We must certainly focus our attention on¬†this¬†‚ÄĒ on¬†combating poverty.

Furthermore, there are even more people facing serious financial problems than those officially living below the poverty line. They are forced to cut spending on such essentials as clothes, medicines and even food. Those most often faced with poverty are large or single parent families, families with members with disabilities, as well as single pensioners and people who cannot find a good job, a well-paid job because there are no openings or they lack qualifications.

There are many reasons for poverty, not only in our country, but also in the world, but it always literally crushes a person, dimming their life prospects. The state must help people, help them out of difficult life situations. The experience of some of our regions shows that it is possible to work effectively for this. I will name these regions: Kaluga, Ulyanovsk, Tomsk, Vologda, and Nizhny Novgorod Regions, and a number of other regions of Russia. Their experience shows that so-called social contracts can be a working mechanism of such support.

How does it work and what is this all about? The state helps people find jobs and improve their skills. The state provides financial resources to families to run a household farm or to start a small business, and by the way, these are substantial resources of tens of thousands of rubles. Let me emphasise that support programmes will be tailored to meet the needs of every specific applicant. The allocation of these resources creates some obligations for the recipients: they have to go through training, find a job in the given field and provide a steady income for their family and children. Mechanisms of this kind are in place around the world and are very effective. Social contracts can change the lives of those who really want to do it.

It is estimated that more than 9 million people will be able to benefit from these support measures over a five-year period. I instruct the Government to assist the regions that are proactive in introducing social contracts and work with them on co-financing mechanisms.

Moving on, there are currently many people and families taking out loans for various purposes, including consumer loans. Of course, borrowers have to be aware of their obligations and refrain from assuming an excessive burden. That being said, anything can happen: people can lose their job or become ill. In this case, the last thing is to force people into a corner, and it is also pointless in economic terms. Additional legal guarantees are needed to protect people. I propose introducing mortgage payment holidays, as we have recently discussed in Kazan, to enable people who lose their income to suspend mortgage payments. They must get a chance to keep their home, if it is the only property they own, and postpone loan payments. This is not an easy task, and we have to understand how this can be done so as not to harm financial institutions while supporting the people. This can be done, however.

I also ask the Bank of Russia and law enforcement agencies to put things right without delay in the microlending segment and protect people from fraud or extortion by dishonest lenders.

Let me emphasise that as we seek to overcome poverty and develop the social security net, we need to reach every family in need and understand the problems it faces. It should not be possible to refuse assistance simply because the life circumstances a person is facing are slightly inconsistent with the criteria set by a programme.

And, of course, it is necessary to be scrupulous and attentive to every detail. By way of example, and this is not a very good example for our work, I would like to say the following: pensions were adjusted for inflation under the pension reform this year. But if a pensioner’s income exceeded the subsistence rate, the social payments were no longer made at the same level. They were either cancelled altogether or reduced. As a result, the pensions were not increased at all, or the increases were much less than a pensioner expected. So many people feel cheated with good reason. Probably, many people in this hall understand what this is all about. We made payments from the regional or federal budget to achieve the subsistence level. We made adjustments for inflation and the cost of living either matched or exceeded it. So these payments were discontinued and that was it.

It was necessary to take into account all the nuances but this was left undone, and of course, this should not be allowed to happen. This injustice, and it is certainly an injustice, should be sorted immediately. Starting this year, adjustments of pensions and monthly payments should by all means be above the subsistence rate of pensioners that is established every year. In other words, the state should first bring pensions to the subsistence level and only after that make adjustments in pensions and monthly payments. Payments for the first months of this year must be recalculated and people should be paid the money due to them that they have not received.

I would like to emphasise that all those who work in the social sphere or join the government or municipal services in order to help people resolve their urgent problems, must meet the highest professional standards. I believe by and large this is the case. Of course, this is a very complicated job. We all understand that working with people every day, from morning until night, is indeed difficult. But if you have this job you should realise that it is no less important to understand people, to know what they feel, empathise, share their worries and concerns and never permit yourself arrogant attitudes or a lack of respect for people, either in word or deed. I would like you to always remember this.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. Photo: TASS

Colleagues,

The next important subject is healthcare. I know that, on the one hand, its current state seems to be improving, and medical treatment is becoming more accessible. Nevertheless, many people are not satisfied. It is easy to understand the reasons for this. As a rule, people judge the healthcare system by its primary component, that is, outpatient clinics and paramedic stations. People voice complaints with regard to their work. Quite often, they have to wait many days to see a specialist, and it is impossible to quickly undergo the required tests free of charge. People in remote communities are even having trouble getting appointments with medical personnel. Yes, the number of paramedic stations and mobile medical units continues to increase, but people in areas where there are no such facilities care nothing about the overall statistics.

I¬†want to¬†emphasise that medical treatment should become accessible for¬†everyone by¬†the¬†end of¬†2020 in¬†all populated areas across Russia without exception and¬†for¬†all citizens, regardless of¬†their place of¬†residence. For¬†your information, an¬†additional 1,590 outpatient clinics and¬†paramedic stations are to¬†be built or¬†renovated in¬†2019‚Äď2020, and¬†I¬†hope that this will be accomplished.

Today, a number of regions are implementing the Thrifty Outpatient Clinic project. As a result, the waiting time to get an appointment and see a doctor is reduced three or four times over, on the average. I have visited such outpatient clinics, and they are operating very well. Much better conditions are created for people with disabilities and for parents with children. Unfortunately, there are very few such outpatient clinics so far; they are rather an exception than the rule all across the nation.

Considering the¬†best regional practices , and, I¬†repeat, there are such practices, I¬†hereby instruct the¬†Government to¬†approve the¬†high standards of¬†thrifty outpatient clinics by¬†the¬†end of¬†the¬†year and¬†their certification regulations. Next year, you have to¬†team up with the¬†regions to¬†introduce mechanisms incentivising managers and¬†medical personnel to¬†improve the¬†quality of¬†their work. First of¬†all, we have to¬†completely convert all paediatric outpatient clinics to¬†new standards already in¬†2021. Please note that the¬†sign ‚ÄúThrifty Outpatient Clinic‚ÄĚ is not what counts. Most importantly, people should at¬†long last perceive the¬†state‚Äôs respectful and¬†truly considerate attitude towards their health.

Improving IT penetration in healthcare will make it more accessible. Online links between medical institutions, pharmacies, doctors and patients must be streamlined over the next three years. Let me add that social security medical assessment boards must be finally included into this digital network in order to free elderly people, people with disabilities and families with children from waiting lists and the need to produce various certificates that are often useless.

Primary care is understaffed. To address this matter, comprehensive efforts to develop medical education should be accompanied by initiatives that produce immediate results. In this connection, I propose removing age restrictions for the Country Doctor programme so that professionals over the age of 50 can also receive a one-time payment when moving to a rural area or a small city: 1,000,000 rubles for doctors and 500,000 rubles for paramedics.

The most complex surgery is currently performed not only at federal, but also at regional clinics and centres using the most advanced equipment. At the same time, patient recovery is also critical. We have never had a system of this kind, but we have to start with something. A lot has to be done in this area. Let us begin by creating at least two world-class recovery facilities for children, just as we did with perinatal centres, and proceed from there.

In¬†my¬†last year‚Äôs Address, I¬†proposed a¬†programme for¬†fighting cancer. At¬†least 1 trillion roubles will be allocated to¬†this effect over the¬†next six years. This is about providing timely, effective and¬†accessible treatment, using advanced technologies that are effective in¬†most cases and¬†enable people to¬†overcome this dangerous disease. Today, the¬†leukaemia recovery rate for¬†children exceeds 80 percent, and¬†for¬†certain types of¬†cancer, more than 90 percent of¬†patients recover. Not that long ago, in¬†the¬†mid-1990s, this disease was almost untreatable and¬†only 10‚Äď20 percent of¬†children could be saved. Russia lacked both the¬†technology and¬†capabilities at¬†the¬†time. In¬†many cases, the¬†only option was to¬†turn to¬†foreign clinics. Those who could afford it did so.

We were aware of how tragic this situation was, which prompted us to focus on improving cancer treatment for children, developing oncohaematology, using the capabilities offered by our research institutions, the healthcare system, and worked proactively with our foreign partners (some doctors simply moved from Germany to Moscow, and spent a lot of time here, and probably still do), which yielded results.

We will continue working to overhaul the system of cancer care. Early detection is of crucial importance. In fact, we have revived the system of health screening and regular medical check-ups. These have to include cancer screening. It has to be made obligatory. People must have the opportunity to make appointments remotely, to choose a suitable time for visiting an outpatient clinic, including in the evening or at the weekend, so that the check-up can be carried out without any additional formalities.

Next, over the next few years we must create a number of new areas combining healthcare with social services. Thus, we must overhaul the system of assistance for people who need long-term help at medical facilities or at home, adjust this system to the needs of specific families and individuals, support people with their everyday needs by assigning district nurses or carers, or training relatives in medical or other necessary skills. The application of these recipient-oriented principles of assistance began last year in Volgograd, Kostroma, Novgorod, Pskov, Ryazan and Tula regions. We must introduce them throughout the country within a timeframe of four years.

Palliative care is a matter of not only medical but also of social, public and moral concern. According to the available information, some 800,000 people need this assistance, and volunteers have told me that the figure is around one million. As you know, in January I visited a children’s hospice in St Petersburg, where we discussed this matter. I know that yesterday the State Duma adopted in the second reading amendments to the legislation on palliative care. I would like work on this law to be completed as soon as possible. We will then monitor its application so we can promptly make amendments, taking into account the opinions of volunteers, whom I have mentioned, doctors, carers, members of the public and religious associations and benefactors, that is, everyone who have long been providing heartfelt palliative care.

Colleagues, people have increasingly high demands on environmental safety issues. Perhaps, the most painful topic is municipal waste. If you remember, it came up for the first time during one of my Direct Lines. Yes, we have probably neglected the waste disposal problems for maybe a hundred years, which means we have never paid attention to them. Many landfills are overfilled because waste has been accumulating there for decades. The landfills have turned into real mountains of garbage near residential areas.

By the way, I am also interested to know how you issued permits for the construction of residential neighbourhoods next to these dumps and landfills. Didn’t you think of that? You should have. I urge the representatives of the authorities at all levels: pretending that nothing is happening, turning away, brushing aside people’s needs is absolutely unacceptable. These issues are difficult, of course, but difficult issues must also be addressed.

Before the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Before the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

This year, the¬†regions began adopting a¬†new system of¬†solid municipal waste management. However, if the¬†only change is a¬†rise in¬†rubbish clearance prices¬†‚Äď well, this is not real work; it is a¬†sham. People need to¬†see what they are paying for¬†and¬†what real changes are happening. It is necessary to¬†restore order in¬†this area, to¬†get rid of¬†shady businesses that do not bear any responsibility and¬†only get super-profits dumping trash at¬†random sites.

We need to build a civilised and safe system of waste treatment, recycling and disposal. Surprisingly, a year ago I personally had to interfere on some matters. I had to talk to the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office several times. You know, surprisingly, I would like to say it again, almost nothing moved forward until I gave an order to station a guard there and not to let anyone in. This is the only way it works, because these shady companies, the so-called fly-by-nights, they just make quick profits and shut down their so-called business.

I¬†ask the¬†Russian Popular Front to¬†ensure effective public control here, including reliance on¬†public environmental inspectors. Their signals regarding any violations must be considered by¬†the¬†authorities, who must adopt specific measures. In¬†the¬†next two years, 30 large problem landfills within city boundaries must be closed and¬†rehabilitated, and¬†in¬†six years, all the¬†rest. At¬†the¬†same time, it is necessary to¬†increase the¬†share of¬†waste treatment from today’s 8‚Äď9 percent to¬†60, so as¬†not to¬†accumulate new millions of¬†tonnes of¬†trash.

It is necessary to introduce stricter environmental requirements when it comes to utility services and energy and transport enterprises. In part, I am urging businesses to play a more active role in natural gas motor fuel projects, and invest in the formation of a network of fuelling stations and fuel systems using liquefied natural gas. We have enough of it, more than any other country. Indeed, this is a complicated and costly project but it should be carried out because it will produce results not only for businesses but for the people as well.

A positive effect from the industry’s transfer to the best affordable technologies and strict environmental standards should be felt by residents of major industrial centres of the country, primarily the 12 cities I mentioned in the 2018 Address. These places should be finally removed from the zone of real environmental disaster. Over a period of the next six years, the amount of polluting emissions in the air should be reduced there by no less than 20 percent.

To prevent anyone from the temptation of dodging the implementation of this job, it is necessary to strictly monitor industrial and other companies responsible for this, to map out the specific steps they should take to minimise environmental damage, and to register all this in a law on emission quotas. I know all too well what this is all about. I know that fairly influential lobbyists are trying to impede this draft law as much as they can. I know their arguments very well too: the need to preserve jobs and a complicated economic situation.

But this cannot go on endlessly in this manner. It must not. Let me recall that in making such decisions we should be guided by the interests of the people of Russia rather than corporate interests or interests of some individuals. Colleagues, please pass this law during the spring session.

Finding solutions for environmental problems is the job of our researchers and people in industry. Each of us is responsible for this. I am urging young people, among others, to take a more active part in this work. We must hand over to the future generations an environmentally safe country and preserve Russia’s natural potential as well as its specially protected areas. This year new national parks will open in the republics of Daghestan, Komi and Sakha (Yakutia), Altai Territory and Chelyabinsk Region. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that many specially protected areas do not yet have precise borders and their regulations are not observed.

I have instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources to conduct a detailed audit. All sanctuaries must be registered in the cadastre. It is also necessary to adopt a law according to which only environmental tourism can take place in nature reserves, without any withdrawal of territories, wood cutting or major construction work. Naturally, it is necessary to take into account the interests of the locals but these issues should be resolved in a package.

Colleagues, the number of students from small towns and remote areas studying at the best Moscow and regional universities is increasing. According to international assessments, our elementary, middle and high school students demonstrate good results in the humanities and hard sciences. We can see it ourselves, based on the results of contests and various student competitions. All this is an indicator of qualitative changes in our school education.

However, despite all these achievements, we must not overlook the obvious problems in this crucial area. The share of schools with modern study conditions has increased from 12 percent in 2000 (only 12 percent) to 85 percent in 2018. But even today, some 200,000 children still go to schools where there is no proper heating, water supply and sewage system. Yes, it is less than 1.5 percent of all schoolchildren, but when their parents see these conditions, any words about justice and equal opportunities only irritate them. I want to draw the attention of the heads of the regions where poorly equipped schools still exist. This problem can be completely resolved within two years. We can do it. I know that the Government is thinking about it and making certain decisions. I am asking you to support the regions that lack their own resources.

When in 2006 we started providing internet connections to schools, the technology was completely different. You know, it seemed like a real breakthrough. And it was indeed a breakthrough at the time. Right now, this technology seems ancient, and we have new tasks to resolve. By the end of 2021, all Russian schools must have a high-speed internet connection rather than just a connection. Let me remind you that in 2006, when schools were being hooked up to the internet, the recommended speed was 128 kbps. Now we need 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps, which is at least 400 times higher. This will help our kids to gain access to lessons and lectures by prominent teachers, to contests and Olympiads; it will allow them to significantly expand their capabilities and get involved in online projects with their fellow students from other regions and countries. The content of educational programmes must also change. The national standards and programmes must reflect the priorities of the country’s science and technology development, while the federal lists of recommended textbooks must include the best of the best books.

Of course, human resources are the most important issue. I have already spoken today about expanding the Country Doctor programme. I propose starting a similar programme for education, the Country Teacher. Teachers who decide to move to smaller towns and villages will receive a one-time payment of one million rubles.

We must work consistently to strengthen the common environment of education and culture. The culture and education centres in Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Vladivostok and Sevastopol will open no later than in 2023. Our leading museums and theatres will be represented there, and branches of art schools will start working there already next year. The demand for a rich cultural environment is very high, primarily in the regions, where a great number of talented and committed people are working.

I propose greatly expanding assistance to local cultural initiatives, that is, projects dealing with local history, crafts and the preservation of the historical heritage of our peoples. For example, additional allocations can be made towards this from the Presidential Grants Fund. In addition, we will allocate over 17 billion rubles within the Culture national project for the construction and renovation of rural culture clubs and over 6 billion rubles for supporting culture centres in Russia’s small towns.

I would like to remind you that medical and educational institutions are exempt from profit tax, but only until January 1, 2020. I propose making this incentive of unlimited duration and also extending it to the regional and municipal museums, theatres and libraries. By the way, this will allow them to save some 4 billion rubles, which they will invest in development or will use to raise salaries. And lastly, this measure will encourage private investment in local cultural establishments.

Colleagues, I would like the heads of regions to ensure that salaries in education, healthcare, culture and other public sectors are kept on a par with the average wage in the given region’s economy. Colleagues, this is very important. I keep talking about this at all my meetings. We must not lower this standard. At the same time, the average wage in the economy must grow. Over 40 million people who work in the public and defence sectors and are non-working pensioners receive fixed payments. These payments must grow together with the inflation at the least. I ask the Government to take this into account.

More than 70 million people work in manufacturing, agriculture or the services or are small business owners. The state of Russia’s economy has a direct bearing on their income, wellbeing and confidence in the future. The primary tool for achieving steady wage increases is to promote quality employment and free enterprise, qualified, well-paid jobs in all regions, including both traditional and new sectors. High economic growth rates are essential. This is the only way to overcome poverty and ensure steady and perceptible increases in income. This is the key to success. As soon as in 2021, Russia’s economic growth rate must exceed 3 percent and stay above the global average afterwards. This objective should not be discarded.

The Government and the Central Bank are once again tasked with complying with the target inflation rate. I have already said this, and we knew that this would happen when we put aside financial resources for the national projects. This was an expected outcome, and now we need to make sure that the situation gets back to normal. We can do this. As I said, the Government and the Central Bank must ensure that the inflation targets are met and create a favourable macroeconomic environment for facilitating growth in general. We have a strong financial safety cushion.

I have something positive to share with you. For the first time ever, our reserves fully cover not only the sovereign debt, which is quite small, but also private borrowings. These funds are at work, and investment of the National Welfare Fund generates budget revenue. Therefore, I would like to address those of our colleagues who constantly criticise the Government, its financial and economic ministries and ask where the money went and where we invested it. We set a target to reach a certain level, after which we can use these funds, although cautiously so as not to cause any macroeconomic disturbances. We are about to reach this level, and are beginning to do it. The proceeds from these investments go to the federal budget. In 2018, proceeds from investing the National Welfare Fund in the amount of 70.5 billion rubles were added to the budget.

To achieve high growth rates, it is also necessary to resolve systemic problems in the economy. I will highlight four priorities here.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

The first one is faster growth in labour productivity, primarily based on new technologies and digitalisation; the development of competitive industries and, as a result, an increase in non-primary exports by more than 50 percent in six years.

The¬†second one is to¬†improve the¬†business climate and¬†the¬†quality of¬†national jurisdiction, so that no one moves their operations to¬†other jurisdictions, to¬†ensure that everything is reliable and¬†runs like clockwork. Growth in¬†investment should increase by¬†6‚Äď7 percent in¬†2020. Achieving this level will be one of¬†the¬†key criteria for¬†evaluating the¬†Government‚Äôs work.

The third priority is removing infrastructural constraints for economic development and for unlocking the potential of our regions.

And the fourth thing is training modern personnel, of course, and creating powerful scientific and technological foundations.

Now I would like to expand on our specific tasks in these fields.

A¬†colossal guaranteed demand for¬†industrial and¬†high-tech products is being formed in¬†Russia, I¬†can say this without any exaggeration. So the¬†words I¬†would like to¬†use¬†‚Äď we are faced with historical opportunities for¬†a¬†qualitative growth of¬†Russian business, mechanical engineering and¬†machine-tool making, microelectronics, IT-industry, and¬†other industries. The¬†national projects alone include¬†‚Äď just think of¬†it¬†‚Äď 6 trillion rubles worth of¬†procurement plans for¬†medical and¬†construction equipment, instruments, telecommunications systems, and¬†systems for¬†housing and¬†public utilities. And¬†these resources should work here in¬†Russia.

So I¬†am urging the¬†Government, the¬†regions, the¬†representatives of¬†state-owned companies I¬†see here in¬†this room¬†‚Äď you certainly want to¬†buy all the¬†most modern equipment and¬†as¬†inexpensively as¬†possible. Naturally, everyone wants to¬†be and¬†should be competitive, but wherever possible, you need to¬†rely on¬†our producers, on¬†domestic ones. We must find them, and¬†even work together with them. Of¬†course, there must be a¬†competitive environment, but we already have the¬†tools to¬†support Russian manufacturers. We must not forget about these tools, and¬†use them.

I would like to emphasise that access to state contracts must be equal (at least for our own, for national companies), and the orders should go to those who prove their sustainability with hard work and results, with willingness to change, to introduce advanced technology and increase labour productivity, and offer the best competitive products.

As concerns the defence industry, we must use our current capacities for diversification, to expand civil production. Colleagues understand what I am talking about here. There are certain targets for each year. And they must be achieved, no matter what.

And of course, now is the time for more daring initiatives, for creating businesses and production companies, for promoting new products and services. This wave of technological development allows companies to grow and win markets very quickly. There are already examples of successful companies, innovative companies. We need many more of them, including in such fields as artificial intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things and robotics.

I am instructing the Government to create the most comfortable conditions for private investment in technological startups and to involve development institutions in their support. I am asking members of parliament to promptly pass the laws that are most crucial for creating the legal framework of the new digital economy, laws that will allow to close civil deals and raise funds using digital technology, to develop e-commerce and services. The entire Russian legislation must be geared up to reflect the new technological reality. These laws must not restrict the development of innovative and promising industries but push this development forward.

The most crucial indicator of a business’s efficiency and competitiveness lies in expanding export and entering external markets. The success of our agricultural industry is, of course, a good example of such development. Our agricultural export increased by 19.4 percent in 2018 reaching $25.8 billion. In 2024, we must reach $45 billion. Incidentally, we are not only one of the largest wheat exporters (last year we exported 44 million tonnes). We have at least one more significant achievement. Thanks to the developments of Russian researchers we are no longer dependent on other countries for wheat seeds. Experts will confirm how critically important this is. Russia must have the entire range of its own advanced agricultural technology, which must be available not only to large but also to small farms. This is literally a matter of national security and successful competition in the growing food markets.

Improving the quality of life for those who work in rural areas is a key long-term factor of the agricultural industry’s steady growth. I would like to point out to the Government that as soon as this year, they must approve a new development programme for rural territories that must be enforced as of January 1, 2020.

One more thing. I think everybody will agree that our massive natural resources constitute our natural advantage. They need to be used for increasing the production of organic produce. I am instructing the Government to create a protected brand for clean products, a brand that will guarantee safety of the technology used and win the reputation of high quality both on the domestic and foreign markets. Trust me, it will be extremely popular abroad. There is hardly anything clean left there.

Colleagues, to achieve the ambitious goals facing the country, we must rid the system of everything that restricts freedom of enterprise and business initiative. Honest businesses should not face the risk of criminal or administrative prosecution. I have already noted this matter in one of my Addresses, and I have cited the relevant figures. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved much.

Today, almost half of all cases (45 percent) opened against entrepreneurs do not get to trial. What does this mean? This means that they were opened in a slipshod manner or under some unclear pretext. And what does this mean in practice? As a result, 130 jobs are lost on average every time a business closes down as result of an investigation. Let us think about this figure; this is becoming a major economic problem.

The business community points to a number of legislative and law enforcement problems. I agree that we need to closely analyse the criteria under which all employees of a company can be considered to be part of a group that is guilty of collusion just through the fact of working for that company. To be honest, this is complete nonsense, but, unfortunately, it happens time and again. And this leads to a stricter detention during the investigation and a more substantial penalty later on. Additionally, we need to strictly limit the grounds for extending the term of detention during the investigation of so-called economic criminal cases. Today, this sometimes happens without any grounds, simply because the investigators had no time to conduct the required expert checks or as a result of delays in the investigation.

We have discussed this matter with the Prosecutor General and the President of the Supreme Court. This is what happens: a person is kept behind bars, and he has not been summoned for questioning for several months. The prosecutor wants to know why he had not been questioned, and they tell him that the investigator was on holiday. Of course, investigators, especially those at the Interior Ministry, handle a tidal wave of criminal cases, and we need to do something about that, we need to take a closer look at this matter. Perhaps we should set aside additional resources and increase the number of investigators. Nevertheless, how can this be explained? A person is kept behind bars while the investigator has left on holiday and has not questioned him for several months. This should not happen, we need to sort this out. I ask the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office to analyse all these problems once again and to submit their proposals.

I¬†suggest that our business associations and¬†the¬†Agency for¬†Strategic Initiatives create a¬†special digital platform¬†‚Äď in¬†fact, they themselves have advanced this initiative¬†‚Äď which entrepreneurs will use to¬†make public any instances of¬†pressure on¬†business and¬†to¬†demand a¬†formal court hearing.

I¬†urge the¬†heads of¬†law enforcement agencies not to¬†be wary of¬†this. This initiative will serve as¬†an¬†additional support, so that senior officials at¬†these agencies will promptly receive the¬†objective information they need to¬†make decisions, at¬†least at¬†the¬†departmental level. I¬†ask the¬†Government and¬†the¬†business community to¬†discuss the¬†technological solutions and¬†the¬†legal framework for¬†implementing this initiative, and¬†the¬†law enforcement agencies¬†‚Äď the¬†Interior Ministry, the¬†Federal Security Service, the¬†Prosecutor General‚Äôs Office and¬†the¬†Investigative Committee¬†‚Äď to¬†coordinate regulations for¬†working with the¬†entrepreneurs‚Äô complaints, including deadlines. This platform must start working, at¬†least in¬†pilot mode, by¬†the¬†end of¬†the¬†year.

Next, the Government has proposed overhauling the regulatory framework. This is good, and we must give all-round support to this. However, I believe that this is not enough. We must take even more radical steps. Indeed, let us draw the line and suspend all the existing regulatory laws and departmental regional orders, letters and instructions as of January 1, 2021. In the two years until then, we must update the regulatory laws together with the business community, retaining only those documents that satisfy current requirements and shelving the rest.

When we discussed this issue, many of¬†our colleagues said honestly that they were terrified. Yes, this is scary, but the¬†problem does exist. It will not be an¬†easy job. The¬†files are really thick in¬†some areas and¬†departments. They have been piling up for¬†decades since the¬†Soviet era, or¬†even ‚Äúas¬†far back as¬†Ochakov and¬†the¬†Crimean war.‚ÄĚ [The¬†quote is from Alexander Griboyedov‚Äôs¬†Woe from Wit¬†written in¬†1824.] I¬†am not referring to¬†the¬†year 2014, of¬†course.¬†(Laughter)¬†Some of¬†these documents go back to¬†the¬†time of¬†Alexander Griboyedov or¬†even before him. So much has been written and¬†regulated. But frankly, I¬†doubt that even the¬†personnel of¬†these agencies know everything that is written in¬†these documents. Hence, we must complete their analysis within two years. There is nothing to¬†fear. We must roll up our sleeves and¬†do it, keeping or¬†updating only the¬†documents we really need to¬†properly organise our activities.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Colleagues, infrastructure upgrades need to¬†be accelerated using state-of-the-art technology. This is essential for¬†enhancing a¬†country’s connectivity, and¬†especially for¬†Russia, the¬†world‚Äôs largest country with its vast territory. This is essential for¬†strengthening statehood, unleashing the¬†country‚Äôs potential and¬†driving national economic growth.

This year, the railway section of the Crimean Bridge will be launched, and will become a powerful impetus. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the construction and railway workers. We saw that a bypass railway was built near Krasnodar alongside an approach railway to this junction from the Caucasus coast. As I have said, trains will begin using the Crimean Bridge in 2019, creating a powerful development driver for Crimea and Sevastopol.

In addition to this, the expressway linking Moscow and St Petersburg is expected to be completed, creating new business opportunities and jobs for people living in Novgorod, Tver, Leningrad and Moscow regions.

More than 60 airports will benefit from upgrades over the next six years, including international airports in Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

In 2025, the throughput capacity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and Trans-Siberian Railway will grow 1.5 times, reaching 210 million tonnes, which is very important for the development of Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Let me reiterate that key indicators related to social and economic development and quality of life in all Russia’s Far Eastern regions are expected to exceed the national average. This is a national cause, and a major priority of our efforts to promote Eastern Siberia and the Far East as strategic territories. All agencies have to constantly keep this in mind.

In September, we will have a meeting in Vladivostok to discuss what each of the federal agencies has done and intends to undertake for the Far East. All the plans for building and upgrading roads, railways, sea ports, air service and communications must prioritise regional development, including promoting these regions as travel destinations.

There is enormous interest in Russia, our culture, nature and historical monuments. Taking into consideration the success of the World Cup, I propose making greater use of e-visas and thinking more broadly about how to streamline visa processing for tourists coming to Russia.

Next. This year we must adopt a master plan for developing the infrastructure of a digital economy, including telecommunications networks, as well as data storage and processing capacities. Here we need to look ahead as well. The task for the next few years is to provide universal access to high-speed internet and start using 5G communications networks.

To achieve a revolution in communications, navigation and systems for remote sensing of the Earth, we must dramatically increase the capabilities of our satellite group. Russia has unique technology for this, but such tasks require a fundamental upgrade of the entire space industry. I am instructing Roscosmos and the Moscow Government to establish a National Space Centre. My colleagues came to me and told me about it. This is a good project is designed to unite relevant organisations, design bureaus and prototype production facilities, and to support scientific research and the training of personnel.

We are seeing that global competition is increasingly shifting to¬†science, technology and¬†education. Just recently, it seemed inconceivable that Russia could make not just a¬†breakthrough but also a¬†high-tech breakthrough in¬†defence. This was difficult, complex work. Much had to¬†be restored or¬†started from scratch It was necessary to¬†break new ground and¬†find bold, unique solutions. Nevertheless, this was done. It was done by¬†our engineers, workers and¬†scientists, including very young people that grew up with these projects. Let me repeat that I¬†know all the¬†details of¬†this large-scale effort and¬†I¬†am completely justified in¬†saying, for¬†instance, that the¬†development of¬†the¬†Avangard strategic hypersonic glide vehicle is tantamount to¬†the¬†launching of¬†the¬†world’s first artificial satellite. And¬†not just in¬†terms of¬†enhancing the¬†country‚Äôs defence capability and¬†security, although this is the¬†primary goal, but in¬†influencing the¬†consolidation of¬†our scientific potential and¬†the¬†development of¬†unique technological assets.

At¬†one time, the¬†nuclear defence project gave the¬†country nuclear power. The¬†construction of¬†a¬†missile shield that started with the¬†launch of¬†the¬†world’s first artificial satellite allowed the¬†country to¬†begin peaceful space exploration. Today, we need to¬†use the¬†personnel, knowledge, competences and¬†materials we have acquired from developing the¬†next generation of¬†weapons to¬†produce the¬†same kind of¬†results for¬†civilian applications.

We have yet to implement new ambitious scientific and technological programmes. An Executive Order on genetic research has already been signed, and I propose launching a similar large-scale programme at the national level on artificial intelligence. In the middle of the next decade, we should be among the leaders in these science and technology areas, which, of course, will determine the future of the world and the future of Russia.

To implement such projects, we need to accelerate the development of an advanced scientific infrastructure. Incidentally, the reactor PIK, a mega-science class research unit was recently launched in Leningrad Region. Over the next 20 years, it will be one of the world’s most powerful sources for neutron research, enabling scientists to conduct unique research in physics, biology, and chemistry, and to develop new drugs, diagnostic tools, and new materials.

For the first time in decades, Russian shipyards will break ground for several modern research vessels capable of working in all strategic areas, including the Arctic seas and the Antarctic, exploring the shelf and the natural resources of the World Ocean.

To¬†promote powerful technological development, we need to¬†build a¬†modern research and¬†development model. This is why we are setting up research and¬†education centres in¬†the¬†regions that will integrate all levels of¬†education with the¬†potential of¬†research facilities and¬†business. Within three years, centres like this should be established in¬†15 regions in¬†the¬†Russian Federation, the¬†first five this year. Three of¬†them¬†‚Äď in¬†Tyumen and¬†Belgorod Regions and¬†Perm Territory¬†‚Äď are close to¬†completion and¬†are to¬†open this year.

We need specialists capable of working at advanced production facilities, developing and applying breakthrough technology solutions. Therefore, we need to ensure a broad introduction of updated curricula at all levels of professional education, to organise personnel training for the industries that are still being formed.

At¬†the¬†end of¬†August, Russia will host the¬†WorldSkills world championships¬†‚Äď so let us wish our team success. Their success is significant for¬†increasing the¬†prestige of¬†the¬†skilled labor occupation. Relying on¬†the¬†WorldSkills movement experience, we will accelerate the¬†modernisation of¬†secondary vocational education, which includes installing modern equipment at¬†more than 2,000 shops in¬†colleges and¬†technical schools by¬†2022.

Passion for a future career and creativity is formed at a young age. In the next three years, thanks to the development of children’s technology parks, quantoriums and education centres for computer skills, natural sciences and the humanities, around one million new spots in extracurricular education programmes will be created. All children must have access.

The Sirius educational centre in Sochi is becoming a true constellation. The plan was for centres supporting gifted children, based on its model, to open in all regions by 2024. But our colleagues said they can finish this work early, within two years. Such proactive efforts deserve praise.

I think every national project has reserves for increasing the pace. I expect that our companies and the business community will get involved in such projects as Ticket to the Future that provides school pupils in their sixth year and above with the opportunity to discover their career interests and intern at actual companies, research centres and other places.

I want to speak directly to our young people. Your talents, energy and creative abilities are among Russia’s strongest competitive advantages. We understand and greatly value this. We have created an entire system of projects and personal growth competitions in which every young person, from school to university age, can show what they are made of. These include ProeKTOriYA, My First Business, I Am A Professional, Russian Leaders and many others. I want to stress that all this is being created for young people to take advantage of these opportunities. I urge you to take a chance and use them, be bold, realise your dreams and plans, do something of value for yourself, your family and your country.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Colleagues, Russia has been and always will be a sovereign and independent state. This is a given. It will either be that, or will simply cease to exist. We must clearly understand this. Without sovereignty, Russia cannot be a state. Some countries can do this, but not Russia.

Building relations with Russia means working together to find solutions to the most complex matters instead of trying to impose solutions. We make no secret of our foreign policy priorities. These include strengthening trust, countering global threats, promoting cooperation in the economy and trade, education, culture, science and technology, as well as facilitating people-to-people contact. These tenets underpin our work within the UN, the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as within the Group of 20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

We believe in the importance of promoting closer cooperation within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, including close foreign policy and economic coordination. Together with our integration partners within the Eurasian Economic Union, we will continue creating common markets and outreach efforts. This includes implementing the decisions to coordinate the activities of the EAEU with China’s Belt and Road initiative on the way to a greater Eurasian partnership.

Russia’s equal and mutually beneficial relations with China currently serve as an important factor of stability in international affairs and in terms of Eurasian security, offering a model of productive economic cooperation. Russia attaches importance to realising the potential of the special privileged strategic partnership with India. We will continue to promote political dialogue and economic cooperation with Japan. Russia stands ready to work with Japan on finding mutually acceptable terms for signing a peace treaty. We intend to promote deeper ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

We also hope that the European Union and the major European countries will finally take actual steps to put political and economic relations with Russia back on track. People in these countries are looking forward to cooperation with Russia, which includes corporations, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and European businesses in general. It goes without saying that this would serve our common interests.

The¬†unilateral withdrawal of¬†the¬†USA from the¬†INF Treaty is the¬†most urgent and¬†most discussed issue in¬†Russian-American relations. This is why I¬†am compelled to¬†talk about it in¬†more detail. Indeed, serious changes have taken place in¬†the¬†world since the¬†Treaty was signed in¬†1987. Many countries have developed and¬†continue to¬†develop these weapons, but not Russia or¬†the¬†USA¬†‚Äď we have limited ourselves in¬†this respect, of¬†our own free will. Understandably, this state of¬†affairs raises questions. Our American partners should have just said so honestly rather than make far-fetched accusations against Russia to¬†justify their unilateral withdrawal from the¬†Treaty.

It would have been better if they had done what they did in¬†2002 when they walked away from the¬†ABM Treaty and¬†did so openly and¬†honestly. Whether that was good or¬†bad is another matter. I¬†think it was bad, but they did it and¬†that is that. They should have done the¬†same thing this time, too. What are they doing in¬†reality? First, they violate everything, then they look for¬†excuses and¬†appoint a¬†guilty party. But they are also mobilising their satellites that are cautious but still make noises in¬†support of¬†the¬†USA. At¬†first, the¬†Americans began developing and¬†using medium-range missiles, calling them discretionary ‚Äútarget missiles‚ÄĚ for¬†missile defence. Then they began deploying Mk-41 universal launch systems that can make offensive combat use of¬†Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles possible.

I¬†am talking about this and¬†using my¬†time and¬†yours because we have to¬†respond to¬†the¬†accusations that are leveled at¬†us. But having done everything I¬†have just described, the¬†Americans openly and¬†blatantly ignored the¬†provisions envisaged by¬†articles 4 and¬†6 of¬†the¬†INF Treaty. According to¬†Item 1, Article VI (I¬†am quoting): ‚ÄúEach Party shall eliminate all intermediate-range missiles and¬†the¬†launchers of¬†such missiles‚Ķ so that‚Ķ no such missiles, launchers‚Ķ shall be possessed by¬†either party.‚ÄĚ Paragraph 1 of¬†Article VI provides that (and¬†I¬†quote) ‚Äúupon entry into force of¬†the¬†Treaty and¬†thereafter, neither Party may produce or¬†flight-test any intermediate-range missile, or¬†produce any stages or¬†launchers of¬†such missiles.‚ÄĚ End of¬†quote.

Using medium-range target missiles and deploying launchers in Romania and Poland that are fit for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, the US has openly violated these clauses of the Treaty. They did this some time ago. These launchers are already stationed in Romania and nothing happens. It seems that nothing is happening. This is even strange. This is not at all strange for us, but people should be able to see and understand it.

How are we evaluating the¬†situation in¬†this context? I¬†have already said this and¬†I¬†want to¬†repeat: Russia does not intend¬†‚Äď this is very important, I¬†am repeating this on¬†purpose¬†‚Äď Russia does not intend to¬†deploy such missiles in¬†Europe first. If they really are built and¬†delivered to¬†the¬†European continent, and¬†the¬†United States has plans for¬†this, at¬†least we have not heard otherwise, it will dramatically exacerbate the¬†international security situation, and¬†create a¬†serious threat to¬†Russia, because some of¬†these missiles can reach Moscow in¬†just 10‚Äď12 minutes. This is a¬†very serious threat to¬†us. In¬†this case, we will be forced, I¬†would like to¬†emphasise this, we will be forced to¬†respond with mirror or¬†asymmetric actions. What does this mean?

I am saying this directly and openly now, so that no one can blame us later, so that it will be clear to everyone in advance what is being said here. Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centres for the missile systems threatening us.

What is important in this regard? There is some new information. These weapons will fully correspond to the threats directed against Russia in their technical specifications, including flight times to these decision-making centres.

We know how to do this and will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the threats to us become real. I do not think we need any further, irresponsible exacerbation of the current international situation. We do not want this.

What would I like to add? Our American colleagues have already tried to gain absolute military superiority with their global missile defence project. They need to stop deluding themselves. Our response will always be efficient and effective.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

The work on promising prototypes and weapon systems that I spoke about in my Address last year continues as scheduled and without disruptions. We have launched serial production of the Avangard system, which I have already mentioned today. As planned, this year, the first regiment of the Strategic Missile Troops will be equipped with Avangard. The Sarmat super-heavy intercontinental missile of unprecedented power is undergoing a series of tests. The Peresvet laser weapon and the aviation systems equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles proved their unique characteristics during test and combat alert missions while the personnel learned how to operate them. Next December, all the Peresvet missiles supplied to the Armed Forces will be put on standby alert. We will continue expanding the infrastructure for the MiG-31 interceptors carrying Kinzhal missiles. The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile of unlimited range and the Poseidon nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle of unlimited range are successfully undergoing tests.

In this context, I would like to make an important statement. We did not announce it before, but today we can say that as soon as this spring the first nuclear-powered submarine carrying this unmanned vehicle will be launched. The work is going as planned.

Today I also think I can officially inform you about another promising innovation. As you may remember, last time I said we had more to show but it was a little early for that. So I will reveal little by little what else we have up our sleeves. Another promising innovation, which is successfully being developed according to plan, is Tsirkon, a hypersonic missile that can reach speeds of approximately Mach 9 and strike a target more than 1,000 km away both under water and on the ground. It can be launched from water, from surface vessels and from submarines, including those that were developed and built for carrying Kalibr high-precision missiles, which means it comes at no additional cost for us.

On a related note, I want to highlight that for the defence of Russia’s national interests, two or three years ahead of the schedule set by the state arms programme, the Russian Navy will receive seven new multipurpose submarines, and construction will begin on five surface vessels designed for the open ocean. Sixteen more vessels of this class will enter service in the Russian Navy by 2027.

To conclude, on the unilateral withdrawal by the USA from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, here is what I would like to say. The US policy toward Russia in recent years can hardly be called friendly. Russia’s legitimate interests are being ignored, there is constant anti-Russia campaigning, and more and more sanctions, which are illegal in terms of international law, are imposed without any reason whatsoever. Let me emphasise that we did nothing to provoke these sanctions. The international security architecture that took shape over the past decades is being completely and unilaterally dismantled, all while referring to Russia as almost the main threat to the USA.

Let me say outright that this is not true. Russia wants to have sound, equal and friendly relations with the USA. Russia is not threatening anyone, and all we do in terms of security is simply a response, which means that our actions are defensive. We are not interested in confrontation and we do not want it, especially with a global power like the United States of America. However, it seems that our partners fail to notice the depth and pace of change around the world and where it is headed. They continue with their destructive and clearly misguided policy. This hardly meets the interests of the USA itself. But this is not for us to decide.

We can see that we are dealing with proactive and talented people, but within the elite, there are also many people who have excessive faith in their exceptionalism and supremacy over the rest of the world. Of course, it is their right to think what they want. But can they count? Probably they can. So let them calculate the range and speed of our future arms systems. This is all we are asking: just do the maths first and take decisions that create additional serious threats to our country afterwards. It goes without saying that these decisions will prompt Russia to respond in order to ensure its security in a reliable and unconditional manner.

I have already said this, and I will repeat that we are ready to engage in disarmament talks, but we will not knock on a locked door anymore. We will wait until our partners are ready and become aware of the need for dialogue on this matter.

We continue developing our Armed Forces and improving the intensity and quality of combat training, in part, using the experience we gained in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria. Much experience was gained by practically all the commanders of the Ground Forces, by covert operations forces and military police, warship crews, army, tactical, and strategic and military transport aviation.

I would like to emphasise again that we need peace for sustainable long-term development. Our efforts to enhance our defence capability are for only one purpose: to ensure the security of this country and our citizens so that nobody would even consider pressuring us, or launching an aggression against us.

Colleagues, we are facing ambitious goals. We are approaching solutions in a systematic and consistent way, building a model of socio-economic development that will allow us to ensure the best conditions for the self-fulfillment of our people and, hence, provide befitting answers to the challenges of a rapidly changing world, and preserve Russia as a civilisation with its own identity, rooted in centuries-long traditions and the culture of our people, our values and customs. Naturally, we will only be able to achieve our goals by pooling our efforts, together in a united society, if all of us, all citizens of Russia, are willing to succeed in specific endeavours.

Such solidarity in striving for change is always the deliberate choice of the people themselves. They make this choice when they understand that national development depends on them, on the results of their labour, when a desire to be needed and useful enjoys support, when everyone finds a job by vocation one is happy with, and most importantly, when there is justice and a vast space for freedom and equal opportunity for work, study, initiative and innovation.

These parameters for¬†development breakthroughs cannot be translated into figures or¬†indicators, but it is these things¬†‚Äď a¬†unified society, people being involved in¬†the¬†affairs of¬†their country, and¬†a¬†common confidence in¬†our power¬†‚Äď that play the¬†main role in¬†reaching success. And¬†we will achieve this success by¬†any means necessary.

Thank you for your attention.

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