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29 Feb, 2024 09:13

Putin delivers key address to Russian lawmakers: As it happened

This is his 19th message to the Federal Assembly, coming just weeks before the country’s presidential elections
Putin delivers key address to Russian lawmakers: As it happened

President Vladimir Putin is delivering his annual message to the Federal Assembly, Russia’s national legislature. The address at Gostiny Dvor in central Moscow is taking place just over two weeks ahead of the presidential vote in Russia, in which Putin is running for reelection.

The Kremlin typically doesn’t announce the exact issues which the speech is going to touch upon. Putin said earlier that “given the domestic political calendar,” it’ll be dedicated to setting tasks for the country for the next six years.

The head of state personally worked on the address, conducting dozens of meetings and phone calls with ministers and other officials, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier. “The text that appears in the end is a presidential text,” he stressed.

Approximately a thousand people have been invited to hear Putin’s message in person, including lawmakers from the State Duma and the Federation Council, government ministers, governors, religious leaders, foreign diplomats and journalists. Servicemen who have taken part in the fighting against the Ukrainian forces, are also among the guests, as in the previous year.

  • 29 February 2024

    13:25 GMT

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  • 13:22 GMT

    Vladimir Putin concluded his address after two hours and six minutes. It was his longest message to the Federal Assembly to date.


  • 13:21 GMT

    There’s a need to revise and modernize Russia’s fiscal system “to achieve a more fair distribution of the tax burden,” Putin said. Those who enjoy a higher personal and corporate income should be paying more, he explained.

    Businesses that invest in social projects and in infrastructure development must be rewarded by lower taxation, the head of state stressed. At the same time, the existing loopholes that some companies use to avoid paying their dues should be eradicated, he added.

  • 12:44 GMT

    The number of people participating in sports has increased, while alcohol consumption has fallen in Russia in recent years, Putin said. “Remember that old motto: ‘Stop drinking, start skiing’? That’s exactly what’s happening,” he laughed.

    The country has achieved “a noticeably good result” when it comes to bringing down the level of alcohol consumption in recent years, the president noted.

    “Really, without any extreme measures, we significantly reduced the consumption of alcohol and, above all, strong drinks. And this, of course, positively affects the health of the nation,” he said.

  • 11:54 GMT

    Moscow maintains good relations with the Arab world and will continue to improve them, while dialogue with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) is also developing “positively,” and the Russia-Africa Summit last year served as “a real breakthrough,” Putin told lawmakers.

    “The African continent declares its interests, the right to genuine sovereignty louder and louder. We sincerely support these aspirations,” he stressed.

    The head of state also said that he has told the government to increase financing for international programs aimed at promoting Russian language and Russia’s multinational culture in the former Soviet space, and in the world as a whole.

  • 11:52 GMT

    In his speech, Putin suggested that the word “elites” had “discredited” itself in Russia over the years, adding that they were unworthy of the moniker.

    Those who “filled their pockets in the 1990s... are definitely not the elites. The true elites are those who serve Russia,” he stressed.

    The country’s new elites are the “workers and the warriors,” the president insisted. They “don’t boast of their successes, but take responsibility in the key moments,” he said, adding that they are the people who “can be entrusted with Russia in the future.”

    The participants of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine have proven that they “won’t retreat, won’t let you down and won’t betray you,” Putin said. “They are the ones who should be taking the leading positions” in society, he said.


  • 11:32 GMT

    Russia could soon surpass Japan to become the fourth largest economy in the world, Putin predicted.

    “Today, Russia’s economy is the largest in Europe when it comes to GDP in terms of purchasing power parity and the fifth in the world. The pace and, most importantly, the quality of growth allows us to hope or even state that in the near future we will be able to take another step forward and join the four largest economic the powers of the world,” he said.

    A shortage of qualified personnel and lack of domestic technology in some areas could lead to a slowdown in economic growth, the president noted, adding that the authorities will focus on eradicating those risks in the coming years

  • 10:44 GMT

    The BRICS countries are overtaking the G7 in terms of global GDP share in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, Putin said.

    The BRICS share will increase to 36.6% by 2028, while that of the G7 will decrease to 27.8%, according to estimates provided by the president.

    “But ten years ago, the situation was different,” Putin stated, noting that the BRICS countries surpassed the G7 in terms of GDP in PPP terms (31.5% versus 30.3%) in 2022, whereas back in 1992, the BRICS share was only around 16.5%.

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  • 10:32 GMT

    Putin rejected claims by the US and its allies that Russia could launch an attack on Europe. “The West provoked the conflict in Ukraine, in the Middle East and in other regions of the world, and they continue to lie. Now, without any shame, they say that Russia supposedly intends to attack Europe. We here understand that it’s nonsense,” he stressed.

    The Russian leader also reacted to recent reports in the American media that Russia is planning to deploy nuclear weapons in space, saying that those stories were “misinformation,” aimed at involving Russia in negotiations on US terms.


  • 10:09 GMT

    Some countries are destroying moral standards and pushing their peoples towards extinction, but “Russia chooses life,” Putin said.

    ”Russia has been and remains a stronghold of traditional values, and its choice is being shared by people around the globe, including in the West,” he insisted.

    A large family should become the norm in Russia, the president said, adding that the country should aim to achieve sustainable growth in the birth rate in the next six years.