|All Sources > The Current Digest of the Russian Press (DA-CDRP) > The Current Digest of the Russian Press > 2016 > No. 48-49, Vol. 68|
Putin Delivers Message to Federal Assembly
STANOVAYA: DESPITE BEING BILLED AS ‘SPECIAL,’ PUTIN’S MESSAGE WILL LIKELY FEATURE USUAL RHETORIC THAT WON’T BE ACTED ON; NO SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, EVEN THOUGH RUSSIA IS NOW ENTERING UNCERTAIN ERA IN DOMESTIC POLITICS
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PUTIN’S MESSAGE, IF ANYTHING AT ALL. (By Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the analysis department at the Center for Political Technologies. Republic.ru [formerly Slon.ru], Nov. 30, 2016, https://republic.ru/posts/768 30. Complete text:) On Thursday [Dec. 1], Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver his traditional annual Message to the Federal Assembly. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov is creating suspense, promising that this year’s message will be special and different from all previous ones. Pundits expect Putin to announce some major changes, probably structural ones rather than just appointments and dismissals. Another factor that makes the situation special is that the Kremlin will soon have to come up with a game plan for 2018: the timing of the presidential election, the platform Putin will run on (and whether he will run at all, because some question even that), and whether the structure of government will change by [Putin’s] fourth term. Tomorrow’s speech may not answer all of those questions, but at least these are the things people expect to find out based on the current political situation.
The current situation looks a bit like late November 2014. Back then, Western media wrote that the Kremlin was gearing up for a major shift toward liberalism: Members of the economic section of the government (led by [then-economic development minister] Aleksei Ulyukayev, who was arrested two years later [see Current Digest, Vol. 68, No. 46, pp. 3 - 6]) had supposedly convinced the president to send a signal to the West that Russia was ready for warmer ties, structural changes and a shift toward a more constructive policy. That’s what many expected from Putin’s first Message to the Federal Assembly following the [annexation of the] Crimea [see ...