This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday gave his 17th annual state-of-the-nation address to a joint session of the Russian parliament in Moscow, which is arguably his most important given the number of different crises the country faces both at home and abroad.
Not only does a ‘new Ukraine conflict’ loom amid mounting international pressure for Russia to reduce its forces in Crimea and near the border with eastern Ukraine, but hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s supporters are planning widespread protests Wednesday. Putin’s address further comes days after Biden’s sanctions rollout targeting the Kremlin as well as select Russian companies and government entities last Thursday. Moscow is further trying to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, as it also faces geopolitical roadblocks in efforts to export its Sputnik V vaccine more broadly, and a continued weakening ruble and economy at home.
Putin introduced first that he would focus on domestic issues, but would leave “just a few words about security issues.” While he didn’t unveil any major moves in relation to the Ukraine or Belarus situations in his speech, he did have some interesting things to say about attempts to “organize a coup in Belarus” – which is something “the West is silent on…”.
The New York Times summarized this moment of Putin’s annual address to the nation:
“Now in his third decade in power, Mr. Putin, 68, appears more convinced than ever of his special, historic role as the father of a reborn Russian nation, fighting at home and abroad against a craven, hypocritical, morally decaying West.“
Putin said related to Russia’s deteriorating relations with the West, especially the United States, “If someone uses an arrogant and selfish tone, Russia will always find a way to defend its position.”
He also sarcastically and somewhat humorously quipped, “This is turning into some kind of sport — who can say something negative about Russia the loudest.”
Protests in support of @navalny begin in eastern Russia.
His team has called for protests across the country’s 11 time zones at 7pm local, describing it as the “final test between good and neutrality”.
Russian police are expected to be out in full force. https://t.co/glFtUfxxQs
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) April 21, 2021
Below are some further key quotes from the speech on Foreign Policy…
“We behave in a restrained, modest manner. Oftentimes we do not respond to outright rudeness; we want to have good relations. We are not looking to burn any bridges.”
“I hope no one will think of crossing so-called ‘red lines’ against Russia, which we ourselves will define in each separate case. Russia’s response will be symmetrical, fast and tough. The organizers of any provocations threatening our core security interests will regret their actions more than they’ve regretted anything in a long time.”
“But now this practice is degenerating into something more dangerous — for example, an attempt to organize a coup in Belarus and an attempt to assassinate this country’s president…. The West is silent on this matter.”
“You can have any position on Lukashenko’s policies, but staging a goverment coup and planning the assassination of a head of state is too much.”
And on Biden’s recent sanctions…
“It seems that everyone is already accustomed to the practice of imposing illegal, politically motivated sanctions, attempts to impose their will on others by force.”
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual State of Nation Address in Moscow against a backdrop of growing tensions with Ukraine pic.twitter.com/QlLkaG8ciH
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) April 21, 2021
On nuclear weapons and strategic deterrence, he said…
“Russia once again urges its partners to discuss issues related to strategic weapons, possibly to create an environment of conflict-free coexistence.”
“Advanced weaponry in Russia’s nuclear triad that comprises strategic aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines will top 88% this year.”
“The share of advanced weapons and hardware in the troops will make up almost 76% by 2024. This is a very good figure. In the nuclear triad, it will exceed 88% already this year.”
The pandemic and economy, amid a backdrop of the ruble, continuing to weaken against the dollar…
“It was impossible to avoid budget cuts [last year] altogether. To support the creation of new jobs, the state will stimulate business. I’m instructing the government to submit additional measures to support small and medium-sized businesses, including in the tax area, within a month.”
“The pandemic has exacerbated problems of social inequality and poverty around the world. We are faced with rising prices. It is impossible to rely only on targeted, directive measures. This leads to empty shelves, as was the case in the late 1980s. Now, even at the peak of the epidemic, we did not allow this. With the help of market mechanisms, it is necessary to ensure price containment.”
“The main thing is to ensure the growth of citizens’ real incomes.”
“Russia must be ready to develop test systems and vaccines within four days in case of a new dangerous infection.”
“Along with a naturally great anxiety, I personally had a firm conviction that we would overcome all trials [of the pandemic]. Having rallied together, we were able to work ahead of the curve. The number of beds in hospitals has increased more than fivefold… For the enormous work of people in all regions, I want to thank you from all my heart.”
“The three coronavirus vaccines developed in Russia are a direct embodiment of our country’s growing scientific and technological potential.”
“I’m appealing to all citizens of Russia: Get vaccinated. This will allow the formation of herd immunity by the fall.“
Reversing Russia’s demographic decline…
“The demographic crisis of the 1940s and 1990s is hitting us now. The preservation of the Russian people is our highest national priority.”
“Russia will always defend and defend traditional values that have been forgotten in a number of countries.”
“In 2030, the average life expectancy should be 78 years. We will not change our strategic goals in this area. This is a daunting task, especially since the coronavirus has not yet been completely defeated. We see how dramatically the situation is developing in other countries. We need to keep the line on all frontiers of the fight against coronavirus.”
“Our goal is to reach a steady growth of the Russian population.”
On Russia’s traditional spiritual and moral values as a unifying force for the nation…
He noted that throughout history, the people of Russia had triumphed over their trials and tribulations thanks to their unity.
“And today, family, friendship, mutual assistance, and compassion have come to the fore for us. Spiritual and moral values, which some countries are forgetting about, have, on the contrary, made us stronger, and we will always uphold and protect these values,” Putin pledged.
Putin added that the service of representatives of traditional religions had become “the spiritual backbone of society, as it always was in difficult times.” That said, the head of state addressed the clergy present in the hall, “I would like to take a deep bow before you all. Thank you very much.”
And one interesting note from the speech in the US-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe…
One new development was Putin’s revelation that he is a fan of the “great writer” Rudyard Kipling.
Putin dropped the English novelist’s name while alleging that many countries were making a sport of ganging up on Russia, with “all kinds of small Tabaquis running around Shere Khan…howling to gain the favor of their ruler.”
The assumption is that Putin meant that the tiger king Shere Khan was the United States and the scrap-eating jackals surrounding him were U.S. allies, but he did not give any hint as to which Jungle Book character Russia might be.
Nevertheless, pro-Kremlin blogger Maksim Kononenko described the comment on Telegram as “powerful,” while alleging that Kipling was an “imperialist and a Nazist.” Other commenters on the thread suggested, however, that Putin’s “joke about Kipling being a good writer did not go over well.”
* * *
Meanwhile, the European Union was seen as a bunch of hyenas…
Nothing too exciting in the big annual Putin speech, perhaps apart from suggestion that a coup attempt against Lukashenko had been exposed. Countries being critical of ?? were described as a tiger with hyenas around. I guess he sees ?? as a bunch of hyenas. pic.twitter.com/vbJwThvS7f
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) April 21, 2021
More empty threats. Putin is too weak to do anything. Russia should have crushed the US installed government in Kiev in 2014. Instead they acted like crybabies for 7 years while the US armed Ukraine. They need to invade immediately and take over Ukraine, but they won’t because they are too weak. And that’s all there is to it.
Perhaps weakness then, but they are acting on a rational basis now. Russia knows that US policy is controlled by neo-cons. It also knows these neo-cons do not act in behalf of the US but rather an agenda most Americans know little about. These neo-cons are aching and willing to pull the trigger and commit the US to a major confrontation, even with Russia, to have their goals met, regardless of the cost to America. Therefore, there is no telling how irrational the neo-cons could ramp up the situation, Russia knows this too. Putin leaves a lot to be desired, but at least he appears to put his country first. He is presently in a superior position and doesn’t want to give it away.
The hypocrisy of the US is breathtaking. How would we like it if a powerful foreign country helped overthrow a government adjacent to our country, install a regime hostile to the US in its place, keep the regional geo-political situation in turmoil, then build military facilities near our borders and ship massive amounts of weapons to the locals. That’s what the US is doing in Ukraine.
Americans don’t realize it’s not about Ukraine, never was. Ukraine is not the object, it is only a means to further neo-con goals against Russia, which is the real object. Ukraine in reality is little more than a chess piece being manipulated.
Alas, the US will waste a lot of good will, squander vast resources and material, create more turmoil, and unnecessarily cost lives, but in the end, this whole dirty business will end in another failure.
Teach your children well and see your country become great…Teach them to seek their God given potential and your country will be greater still…The way to spiritual eternal existence is through everpresent spiritual awareness…that was the lesson that prince Sidartha sought and that is the eternal promise of Jesus of Nazareth..Ignore them at your peril…Go figure…
Yes, and well said
This world has become very dystopian
Right is wrong – up is down – white people are devils, police are all killers, covid -19 and the experts are controlling and killing us.
I really fear fear my children and grandchildren!
I pray GOD helps us