Russian President Vladimir Putin held the annual address to the parliament on Wednesday where he outlined some of the key domestic and foreign policies the country plans to implement in the near future, including measures to support those affected by the pandemic, ensure well-being of families with children, stabilize the economy and adapt to climate change and security challenges
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st April, 2021) Russian President Vladimir Putin held the annual address to the parliament on Wednesday where he outlined some of the key domestic and foreign policies the country plans to implement in the near future, including measures to support those affected by the pandemic, ensure well-being of families with children, stabilize the economy and adapt to climate change and security challenges.
At the start of his address, Putin stressed that he would mostly focus on the most pressing internal issues, such as healthcare, social policy, and economy, and would touch a little upon foreign policy and security.
A major part of the address was dedicated to the country's efforts in battling the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its effects. The Russian president thanked the nation for the hard work, solidarity and perseverance in the face of the crisis and noted that he had never doubted that the country would overcome the challenges.
Putin specifically commended the efforts of Russian scientists who "made a real breakthrough" by developing three reliable coronavirus vaccines, saying that it shows "the growing scientific and technical potential of our country." He also reaffirmed a call for Russia to become self-reliant in developing all vaccines and medical products in case a new pandemic emerges.
Despite the existing risk of the pandemic, the government has already prepared a package of steps and laws to start rebuilding the economy. The top priority, according to Putin, is to ensure Russia's population growth. This goal, he stated, has dictated all the key policies the government has put forward, including the renewed Constitution.
"Our strategy is to again achieve a sustainable population growth, and ensure that average life expectancy in Russia will total 78 by 2030," he added.
In line with this priority, the president announced several measures to ensure the access of the Russian citizens to next-generation healthcare and reliable financial support structures.
"The global healthcare system is on the verge of a real revolution, and we cannot miss it. The epidemic across the world has strongly accelerated the introduction of telemedicine, artificial intelligence, new approaches to diagnostics, surgery, rehabilitation and production of medicines," he said.
Additional financial support to at-risk groups will include a 5,650 ruble ($74) monthly stipend to children aged 8 to16 in families with single parents and a separate 6,350 ruble monthly stipend to pregnant women with financial hardships. Two-parent families with school-age children will also receive support in the amount of 10,000 rubles per each child as a one-off payment in mid-August.
Concerning post-pandemic restoration of the economy, Russia will prioritize curbing inflation to the target 4 percent and ensuring macroecomomic stability. The government will be tasked with restoring the labor market and the real income of citizens using market regulation mechanisms, Putin announced.
These mechanisms will include stimulating private investment to support creation of new jobs. According to Putin, this approach has shown great potential as Russia's corporate sector is set to register all-time record profit in 2021 despite economic challenges.
"Last year, we directed unprecedented resources to support the economy. We saved over 5 million jobs also due to the [program] of soft loans to pay salaries," he said, adding that the program worked so well because the sense of responsibility shown by businesses.
The Russian president also cited last year's halving of insurance fees for small- and medium-sized businesses, saying that the measure will be made permanent.
Another important topic touched upon by the president was the issue of climate change and how it effects the country's economy. Putin emphasized that Russia needs to develop new approaches to energy, focusing more on nuclear and hydrogen solutions, and adapt its industrial sector to resolving the new global challenges.
"We have to adapt our agricultural sector, industrial complex, public services and all the infrastructure. Create the CO2 recycling industry, aim for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through tough control and monitoring," Putin stressed.
The goal is to reduce the net level of Russia's greenhouse gas emissions to the levels below those in the European Union over the next 30 years. In line with this, Putin urged the responsible bodies to accelerate the adoption of a bill that imposes fines on enterprise owners for causing environmental damage.
"This approach is as simple as it sounds: made a profit at the expense of nature � clean up your mess. Here you need to act tough," he said.
INTERNATIONAL AGENDA: TOUGH, BUT OPEN TO DIALOGUE
Traditionally, the Russian president prefaced his speech on the country's international agenda by stressing that Moscow will continue to defend its national interests in line with international law. He reaffirmed that Russia's goals on the international arena are to ensure peace, security and stable development of the country.
Putin also emphasized Russia's significant contributions to de-escalating tensions in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh and invited global partners to further discuss strategic stability at an in-person meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
"We truly do not want to burn bridges. But if one perceives our goodwill as indifference or weakness and is ready to completely burn � or even blow up � those bridges on their own, they must know that Russia's response will be asymmetrical, quick and brutal," Putin said.