Pursuant to the Constitution of the Russian Federation the President of Russia annually delivers his address to the Federal Assembly on the situation in the country and priorities of the domestic and foreign policy. Let us note that this address was the first one of Dmitry Medvedev after his election as the President.
The speech of the President was 85 minute long, i.e. the longest in the history of such addresses.
The President gave his assessment of the situation in the country and Russia’s place in the world, and outlined priorities in the economy, domestic policy, the social sphere, security and defense.
In the beginning of his Address the President summarized the results of the year. He reminded that the country held elections to its key institutions of power. A new Government was formed, implementation began of new plans for long-term economic and social development.
The Russian President mentioned the August conflict, which was a serious test for all of Russia. According to Medvedev, the conflict in the Caucasus was used as a pretext for imposition of an American missile defense system on Europe.
"The conflict in the Caucasus was used as a pretext for NATO naval vessels to enter the Black Sea and then to speed up the imposition of an American missile defense system on Europe. This situation forces Russia to take measures in response (which I will talk about today). Thus, Tbilisi’s adventure in its own backyard has had repercussions that go far beyond the region, have increased tension across Europe and throughout the whole world, cast doubts on the effectiveness of the international security institutions and destabilized the foundations of the world order”, The President said.
Medvedev claimed that Russia abstain from its plant to decommission three missile regiments of a missile division deployed in Kozelsk. Besides Moscow is ready to deploy the Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad Region. These measures are caused by the US plans to deploy the ABM system in Europe.
"Of course we will not let ourselves be dragged into an arms race. But we must take this into account in defense expenditures. And we will continue to reliably protect the safety of the citizens of Russia. Therefore I will now announce some of the measures that will be taken. In particular measures to effectively counter the persistent and consistent attempts of the current American administration to install new elements of a global missile defense system in Europe. For example, we had planned to decommission three missile regiments of a missile division deployed in Kozelsk from combat readiness and to disband the division by 2010. I have decided to abstain from these plans. Nothing will disband. Moreover, we will deploy the Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad Region to be able, if necessary, to neutralize the missile defense system. Naturally, we envisage using the resources of the Russian Navy for these purposes as well. And finally, electronic jamming of the new installations of the U.S. missile defense system will be carried out from the territory of the same westernmost region that is from Kaliningrad. I want to emphasize that we have been forced to take these measures. We have repeatedly told our partners that we want to engage in positive cooperation. We want to act against common threats and to work together. But unfortunately, very unfortunately, they did not want to listen to us”, Medvedev claimed.
Dmitry Medvedev expressed his hope that the new US Administration will choose the policy towards strengthening the relations with Russia.
"Progress in US-Russian cooperation would play a key role in this respect”. “It's no secret that many states, simply due to inertia, look at which way the wind is blowing in relations between Russia and the United States. Yes, today these relations are not the best. And many questions are being raised in Russia, including moral ones. But I would stress that we have no issue with the American people, we do not have inherent anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the new administration of the United States of America, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia”, he said.
Besides the President gave assessment to the financial crisis. “The global financial crisis also began as a ‘local crisis’ on the U.S. domestic market. As the biggest developed economy, tightly linked to the markets in all the developed countries, when the U.S. economy began to slide it pulled financial markets all around the globe with it in its fall. This crisis has now become global in scale”, Medvedev explained.
"We will overcome the global financial crisis and emerge from it stronger than ever”, the Russian President assured.
Dmitry Medvedev proposed to make two key amendments to the Russian Constitution.
The first one is to increase the constitutional mandate of the State Duma to five years, and the second one – to increase the constitutional mandate of the President to six years.
The full text of the President’s Address to the RF Federal Assembly is posted on Official Website of the Russian President.