Putin thanks United Russia, promises to work for progress

Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Drujinin)
As the United Russia party convention endorsed Vladimir Putin’s presidential nomination, the PM promised to further improve life for the people and boost the nation’s development.

Below is the full transcript of Vladimir Putin’s speech:

Dear convention members, dear friends, people of Russia! I thank you for your support. I thank Dmitry Medvedev and the United Russia convention for nominating me for the presidency. I gratefully accept your proposal.

The State Duma elections are due to take place in one week. Presidential elections are scheduled for March. Then the government will be formed. Essentially, it will be a single cycle of complete renewal of our federal authority.

Over the past decade, we have managed to lay the foundation for our country’s future. We have done a lot. My colleagues and President Medvedev have spoken about it. We have gone through the very important stage of restoring Russia. We have created a foundation for the country’s stable, sustainable development. Our goal now is to build a strong and prosperous nation on that foundation – a Russia of the 21st century.

Thank you for chanting “Russia! Medvedev! Putin!” But when you chant “Russia!” alone, the entire audience should join in. Let us try again! Thank you.

Russia has set grand goals for itself many times over the course of its history. We won because we held onto our common values that are the essence of our national character. What are those values? They are very simple: truth, dignity and justice. Victory over any injustice, respect for the dignity of every man, truthful relations between society and the government.

The Russian people’s biggest desire is obvious today. It is to establish justice in the most general sense of the word. The country had to develop for the sake of the people, not at their expense. Our every decision, every step we take, has to be in line with the interests of the majority of our citizens. The basic underlying principle of any reform is to take care of the people. It means to take care of Russia’s future, to create Russia’s future even. Not only do we have to provide for population growth, we also need to increase Russia’s human potential. There have to be more of us. We have to be strong, efficient and competitive in all areas. I am sure this sums up Russia’s development strategy for the next several decades.

We have to eliminate social inequality, which is currently critically high. A large middle class should become the social majority in Russia which is why we are focusing on new standards for quality of life. I am talking about growth of incomes – real incomes that is, adjusted to inflation – wages and pensions. This is not the only thing I am referring to, however. I am also talking about the things that shape the day-to-day life of every family in Russia: sensible tariffs for utilities and housing, clean streets and good pavements in cities and villages, no queues for kindergarten places and well-supplied hospitals – the things we have been talking about over the course of the past three months, especially in the All-Russian Popular Front. I have met with a lot of people. I meet with people all the time, and wherever I go, they always bring these things up. It is understandable: these things shape people’s lives.

We have to make talent and professional merit the key factors of people’s social advancement, whether these people work in businesses or the government. The quality of education in Russia is therefore a key issue. We have to root out anything that might discourage young people from learning or kill their belief in the value of knowledge. Education and professional training need to become the main elevator in our society, the chief criteria for respect and the start-up capital that helps people to success, moving the entire country forward.

In order to make Russia strong and successful, we have to guarantee truly equal opportunities for every citizen. That means creating good living conditions not only in our major cities, but all across the country, in every region, village and town. I frequently visit old towns. People approach me on the street and say: “Life in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities is good. We want to have the same.” Of course we can’t solve the issue overnight, but that is where we have to be headed.

We have to guarantee fair economic competition for everyone. Our law enforcement and judicial systems have to be capable of defending the safety and rights of every citizen, regardless of his social standing, income or title. These problems concern every member of our society. Of course, simply listing them is much easier than solving them, which is much easier said than done. Many politicians have spoken about these problems, only in different words. It is a good thing these issues are brought up – these politicians are saying the right things. In this situation, people start asking themselves: who is against resolving these issues? Everyone is in favor.

Regrettably, and this was also mentioned today, many people are using these problems to score political points, especially in the run-up to the elections. They speculate on our country’s problems, the justified discontent of the people who still have to deal with injustice and stupidity. Let us remember that those who are using the problems of our society and the mistakes of the authorities have already been in power. They have tried their hand at running the country. What were the results of that?

The first group of these people led their own country to destruction. I am referring to the fall of the Soviet Union. The other group organized an unprecedented epidemic of thievery in the 1990s. History had never seen anything like it. They destroyed our industry, our agriculture and our social sphere. They have forced the knife of civil strife into Russia’s very heart, letting things come to bloodshed in the North Caucasus and driving the country towards disaster.

Now I’ll say a couple of things which are not very pleasant for the party in power. Of course, when ordinary people encounter problems with utility services or financial difficulties or other problems like corruption, disrespect or humiliation, they do not recall the enormous problems of our recent past. This is only natural. Would you like it to be the other way? It cannot be the other way. This anger is built up inside and is finally vented against the ruling party, against the authorities in general. But, again, this is a natural thing.

Where should people turn? Who should they turn to? Who will solve their problems? It’s the job of the authorities to address people’s problems and the ruling party has no right to shun responsibility by constantly referring to objective reasons which arebeyond its control. It has no right to do so simply because there is no one else to be accountable for the state of affairs in every village, settlement, city, region or the whole of our country. There is no other political force in charge. If you are the power, you have to tackle these issues.

Does United Russia always come up to the mark? Does it always solve its tasks successful? Does it always respond to the appeals and aspirations of the people? Of course, the answer is no. The United Russia party suffers from the same problems and contradictions that our society in general is facing and that United Russia will work hard to eradicate.

Nevertheless, it was with the support of United Russia that we made the key steps forward at critical times of our country’s history – we managed to bring the country together, secure quite a high rate of economic growth, preserve our sovereignty, pay off a foreign debt that had a humiliating and destructive effect on the nation, avert a demographic disaster, restore our social care system, support Russian mothers and children. We have achieved quite a lot.

Over the past 20 years Russia has endured a number of gruelling social and economic blows. The financial downturn of 2008-2009 was the first time the authorities demonstrated their competence and ability to cope with economic upheavals, when they showed their ability to protect the country and the majority of its people, preserve and deliver on all of their social commitments and restore the nation’s strength, confidence and respect in the world.

All this was achieved with the help and through direct support of the United Russia Party. This gives me the right to say that we, better than anyone else, know what is to be done at this new stage of Russia’s development, and how it is to be done. That is why I hope that every person with a reasonable, serious and unbiased attitude, a person who wants a better future for himself, his children and the whole of Russia, would support the United Russia party headed by President Medvedev at the State Duma election on December 4, 2011.

To achieve the goals we have set, that is to fight injustice and ensure high living standards, we need to tap into new sources of growth, to strengthen our new economy. It should be an economy of cutting-edge innovation and breakthrough technologies which would be resistant to economic ups and downs. There should be multiple centers of growth across the country’s territory, reliant on a powerful infrastructure. To build such an advanced industry and social care system, we need to open up thousands of new initiatives, to boost the prestige of workers, engineers, farmers, scientists, teachers and doctors – all those people whose work is crucial to this country’s development.

We will continue to enhance inter-budget relations and adjust the tax system to the interests of the people, we will go on with the structural transformations of our economy. But in implementing these changes we should be guided by the principle of justice. Independent, active regions that have embarked on their own development projects, that support the regional business community, that create new jobs, should receive additional incentives, opportunities and resources for their growth. Taxes on ordinary people should not be a burden while luxury and excessive consumption should be taxed at a higher rate – that’s a fact we cannot deny. Russia’s high-tech business, enterprises and companies operating in the social care system should pay fewer taxes than those companies selling natural resources.

We will provide all necessary assistance to the Russian business community, to those entrepreneurs who want to do their business in this country, who set up factories and plants, who introduce new technologies at home, who develop Russia’s vast expanses and are active on world markets. But the business community should realize, too, that it’s not righteous or acceptable to hide their assets and funds in offshore accounts and evade their social obligations. The same goes for attempts to save money by ignoring occupational safety standards, environmental regulations or by violating the rights of their employees.

Economic freedom should rest on a solid foundation of social justice, on the decency and responsible attitude of our entrepreneurs. We have never promised to make anyone super rich. We cannot promise to make people wealthy overnight, simply because that’s impossible. Such promises would sound like gibberish. But there’s one thing we do know – if we work hard and conscientiously, we can make it, and our country will be successful.

I mentioned that economic freedom should rest on a solid foundation of social justice. But if we are to move ahead, we need strong state institutions that would serve the country and its people. We need to change the philosophy of state service and the work of state officials, from the national right down to the municipal level.

Our priority goal is to involve in the running of our country professionals, people who are not indifferent, who have a modern way of thinking, who seek to make a career – which is a good thing – as well as to serve Russia, and to serve in good faith. Russia has always been rich in such people. There are plenty of them today, and they will definitely be in demand.

What we have to do is to develop our political system in a consistent and responsible way so that our citizens will have more opportunities to interact with the authorities on every level, be it municipal, regional, or federal, and have effective feedback mechanisms. We have a young democracy, and we are in need of political institutions that would efficiently serve both ourselves and our future generations. We are in need of a stable political system. We are in need of mechanisms which would guarantee Russia’s long-term sustainable development for decades into the future.

For Russia, with its history of revolutions and upheavals, it is essential to achieve our goals while complying with the principles of democracy – naturally. This is why we are in such great need of continuity, stability and consistency in our political reforms; this is why we must approach the task of developing our political system with great care and responsibility.

We shall do everything to protect peace and harmony. We are talking about the future of our statehood, the wellbeing of our citizens, about all those things we shall take care of and protect. And I would like to address those who incite social or ethnic intolerance, and attempt to spread populist and provocative ideas which in their bare essence advocate national betrayal and ultimately the destruction of our state – we are both a multiethnic state and a single nation, we are the united and indivisible Russia!

Dear friends! We shall keep maintaining our active position on the foreign policy agenda, we shall openly and honestly pursue our interests, and participate in the global problem-solving process as well as in developing a more just political and economic world order, and we shall speak the truth about everything that happens in the world even if some do not like it.

We are open for partnership and dialogue with all of our friends and all countries. Yet, let’s point out that a dialogue with Russia is only possible on a basis of parity.We do not want anyone to try and impose their role models on us or influence our choice of actions. All of our international partners need to understand that Russia is a democratic power, a reliable and predictable partner one can negotiate and come to agreement with, but there is no dictating to us.

It is with regret that I say that we know that these days, just before the parliamentary election and the impending presidential election, some circles in some states are now summoning those they pay, these so called “grant recipients”, and giving them instructions for their future “assignment” to try and ultimately affect the outcome of the election campaign in our country. It is all in vain! We call it a waste of money. First of all, that’s because Judas is far from being the most popular Bible character with our people, and secondly, they would be better using all that money to cancel their national debt and abandon their cost-inefficient foreign policy. Instead, we invite our international colleagues and partners to join their efforts with us to counter all the modern challenges and threats together, and there are more than enough of those in the modern world. We are witnessing a serious transformation in the global economy; new centers of geopolitical influence are emerging. That’s exactly why we’re putting forward our integration project and setting our priority goal at creating the Eurasian Union in the very nearest future. And incidentally, we have done a lot over recent years to achieve integration on the post-Soviet space.

The new project – the Eurasian Union – is in line with present-day requirements and it opens new opportunities for our citizens, businesses, trade, investments, as well as co-operation in the areas of culture, research and development, and education, while providing firm guarantees of stability and peace across the entire Eurasian space. And in connection with this, I would certainly like to thank the leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus. Indeed, they are devoted to this track, and they move along it consistently, in a composed manner, while protecting their national interests and enjoying the genuine support of their citizens. This, first of all, is impressive, and secondly, makes us confident that we shall arrive at our common destination.

Over the next five to ten years, we must upgrade our army to a dramatically new level. Our task consists in creating an army and navy and defense industry capable of securing peace for our country while making sure that our economy, instead of sustaining losses, keeps growing and multiplying. This certainly requires considerable financial expenditure. Do we not know it? Of course we do. It’s not going to be easy, but we must do it if we want to stand up for the honor of our country, if we want to protect our sovereignty, independence and our citizens.

Dear friends! Today, it is obvious for all of us that our country is entering a new stage of development. We have prepared for it and we can do it. While implementing our strategy we must listen to our people and feel their concerns. Fulfilling social obligations, protecting the interests of the majority, fighting injustice, protecting human rights and human value is what is of paramount importance, and only if we succeed in it we shall enjoy our citizens’ support. We must work on increasing the quality of life in our country on a daily basis; we must always tell people the truth no matter how hard it can sometimes be. We must learn to do it. This is the best national policy – the policy that keeps up with the people’s interests. It is our policy. We shall fight for justice and we believe in justice. We are protecting the honor of our country and every one of our citizens. Ours is the right cause! We shall prevail! Thank you.

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Putin’s address upon completion of the vote establishing him as the presidential candidate:

Dear friends and colleagues, I would like to thank everyone here today, and I would like to address all of Russia’s citizens, both those who have supported us and myself over the years, and those who still have some doubts. I’d like to say that throughout my entire life I have always felt that I am a part of our country, a part of our great nation.

The goal of my entire life, and I’m not exaggerating this, has been to serve my country at every stage. Today, as I am addressing you and our entire country, I would like to say: if our people trust me with the supreme authority in the country, I shall do all I can to ensure that our work’s output proves to be worthy of your choice. I shall do all I can to have Russia develop, grow stronger, and to improve our people’s lives in every way. Our motto is, only forward!

Thank you. Now, I propose to demonstrate how the United Russia congress feels about Russia. Hooray for Russia!