Putin praises people’s unity, but says there’s no way back to ideological monopoly
In his annual address to the Federal Assembly (the official name of the Russian bicameral parliament), Vladimir Putin noted that the elections victory gave United Russia special responsibilities.
“The party now occupies constitutional majority of seats and is the main supporter of the government in the parliament. It is important to conduct the joint work in such way that all obligations and promises to the citizens are fulfilled,” he said.
The president said that through their choice made at the parliamentary polls Russian citizens had chosen the way of constructive development for their country and proved that Russian society was healthy and confident in its justified demands, with immunity for populism and appreciation of unity, cooperation and mutual support.
“We are not speaking about dogmas, about false unity demonstrated for show and especially about coercing someone into accepting some particular worldview. You all know well that it has already happened in our history and we have no intention to return to this past,” Putin told Russian lawmakers and dignitaries.
The president also warned the society against engaging into useless debate that only alienates people.
“If some people consider themselves more ‘developed’, better-educated or even more intelligent than someone else, they should treat other people with respect – this is only natural. And of course I consider that an aggressive reaction to this is equally unacceptable, especially when it develops into vandalism and violations of the law,” Putin said.
“But I would like to emphasize – in culture, in politics, in mass media, in public life and in discussions over economic issues no one can prevent anyone else from thinking freely and openly expressing their positions,” he added.
In his address Putin stated that it was impossible for any society to achieve important strategic goals when its citizens are split and the parliament was submerged in a “fruitless rows and competition of ambitions.”
“Is it possible to develop decently on a shaky ground of a weak state that has lost the trust of its citizens and is managed from abroad? The answer is obvious, of course it is ‘No’,” he said.
Putin noted that in recent times everyone could witness the scenarios in which such situations benefited various opportunists and led to coups and anarchy.
“Everywhere the result was the same – the loss of human life, casualties, economic decline and misery and general disappointment,” the president told the assembly.
The Russian leader also recalled that the coming year will mark the centenary of the February Bourgeois and the October Bolshevik Revolutions in Russia. He urged the whole society to use this occasion for another attempt of honest and objective analysis of these events, saying that history lessons were needed for reaching social and political accord.
“It is unacceptable to drag the schisms, malice and grudges of the past into our modern life, to pursue selfish interests by speculating on tragedies that had happened in nearly every Russian family, regardless of what side of the barricades our ancestors found themselves back then. Let us remember – we are a united people, we are one people and we have only one Russia,” Putin said.