"The quality and scale of the Russian economy should correspond to our geopolitical and historic role. We should escape from the trap of zero growth rates and in three or four years show the rates that will be higher than the world's average," Putin said.
On December 2, Russia's Economic Development Ministry stated that the country's GDP growth forecast for 2014 was 0.6 percent. A 0.8 percent decline in GDP is expected in 2015 against growth of 1.2 percent in the previous version of the forecast. A recession is expected in the first half of 2015.
In recent months, the Russian economy has shown signs of a minor slowdown due to geopolitical tensions over the situation in Ukraine and the continuing decline in oil prices.
According to the Russian constitution, the president addresses the Russian Federal Assembly every year with a speech focusing on the country’s current situation and on the main aspects of domestic and foreign policy. Leaders of the Constitutional, Supreme and Arbitration courts, regional governors, heads of traditional religions and other prominent public figures take part in the event along with deputies and senators.
The first address was made by Boris Yeltsin on February 24, 1994. This year, this tradition celebrates its 20th anniversary.