15:38 GMT04 June 2020
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    Vladimir Putin is delivering his annual state-of-the-nation address to Russian lawmakers in Moscow on Wednesday; this will be his 16th time doing so during his three terms as president.

    President Putin will give his annual address to the nation’s two-chamber parliament, the Federal Assembly, in Moscow’s Manege Exhibition Hall.

    The address is one of three major national appearances for Vladimir Putin, who also holds a marathon Q&A session and a news conference each year.

    The Federal Assembly addresses tend to touch upon key themes including domestic and foreign politics, economics, demographics, and national projects. This year's speech is expected to be focused primarily on domestic issues, including social inequality, real income, and the protection of historical memory.

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    • 10:25

      Shorter than expected

      The presidential address began at around 12:04 am (local time) and ended at 13:16.

      Last year, the Federal Assembly speech took about an hour and a half. The 2018 speech lasted for 1h 55m and set Dmitry Medvedev's 2009 record of 1h 40m.

    • 09:56

      Changes to the Constitution

      Vladimir Putin said there is no need for a new Consitution, but offered some changes to the existing one.

      He said he agrees with the notion that the limitation of two consecutive terms should for the presidential position should be removed, but added he doesn't believe that this is a "principal" issue. There has been speculation in the past weeks that the law could be amended so that the President can serve more than two back-to-back terms.

      The president offered to ban Russian lawmakers, prime ministers, governors and other key officials from having foreign citizenship or residence permit.

      He also offered to limit the president's power to appoint members of the government and increase the Parliament's power in this regard. His idea is that the president should not be able to reject the candidates picked by the Parliament.

      Vladimir Putin maintaned, however, that Russia should remain a "strong presidential republic", with the president being able to dismiss the prime minister and his deputies, remaining in charge of the military and exercising a great control over the judiciary.

      The President believes that the Constitution should have a priority over international laws where they contradict the Russian legislation.

      He went on to propose a popular vote on any changes to the basic law.

    • 09:53

      Global security

      President Putin believes that the five nuclear-weapon states – Russia, the US, the UK, France and China – to ensure global security. He said Russia is always "open for a dialogue" on international security.

      He added that Russia's defense capabilities are ensured for "years to come".

      "[Russia] took steps to strengthen national security in a timely manner. For the first time in the history of nuclear weapons, we are not chasing anyone. On the contrary, other countries have yet to create weapons that Russia possesses. The country's defense capabilities are ensured for years to come," Putin said.

    • 09:51

      Internet

      Vladimir Putin believes that access to "the most significant" domestic internet resources should be available throughout Russia.

      He went on to call for a breakthough in artificial intelligence and other hi-tech fields of research.

    • 09:47

      Environmental pollution

      Addressing the hot-button environmental issue, President Putin said Russia should aim at becoming a "circular economy" – the one where waste is eliminated and recycled to "close the loop".

      A full-fledged system of environmental monitoring should also be created in the country, he added.

    • 09:41

      GDP and inflation

      Vladimir Putin said that the inflation rate in 2019 stood at 3 percent, well below the projected target of 4 percent.

      He suggested that a "new investment cycle" should be kick-started to achieve an above-average GDP growth rate.

    • 09:37

      Healthcare

      President Putin said the top priority in healthcare is an increase in government funding for the primary care setting. He announced that a $9-million programme would be launched in July this year to modernise primary care.

      The government will tighten its control over the quality of medications, including at pharmacies.

    • 09:21

      State-funded tuition

      Vladimir Putin has offered to increase the number of state-funded student places at Russian universities every year, first and foremost in the regions.

      He also offered to raise the salaries of form teacherers starting 1 September 2020 using federal funding.

    • 09:16

      Maternity capital

      Vladimir Putin pledged to extend the family capital programme – a method of state support to families that have a second or a third child – from 31 December 2021 to 31 December 2026.

      He also announced that families that have a first child will be allowed to enter the programme as well. This, he said, will help them prepare for the birth of a second child.

      According to President Putin, the maternity capital for families with two children will make up more than 616,000 roubles (more than $10,000).

      The government will work on demographic development to create a "large-scale, effective system of family support".

       

    • 09:11

      Real income

      Vladimir Putin called low wages a "direct threat" to the well-being of Russian citizens. Families with children account for 70 to 80 percent of low-income households, he said, and the government's main task is to work to increase real income.

      He offered the government to consider providing low-income families with children from 3 to 7 years of age with monthly social allowances starting immediately.

    • 09:07

      Demographics

      The first topic of this year's speech is demographics. Vladimir Putin notes that Russia is going through a "strained" demographic period. There were an average of 1.5 births per woman in 2019, as opposed to 1.16 in the 1990s and 1.3 in 1943 - something Vladimir Putin called a "small number" for Russia.

      President Putin says the government is worried by the negative demographic outlook and is aimed to reach the fertility rate of 1.7 by 2024.

    • 09:06

      Unusual timing

      President Putin said this is the first time he is giving the Federal Assembly address in the very beginning of the year.

    • 08:56

      Real income high on the agenda

      Less than two weeks ago, President Putin said he was "deeply worried" by the stagnation of real wages. He is expected to speak about ways to tackle that issue today.

    • 08:53

      How long will it be?

      The Kremlin has announced that Vladimir Putin's address will last for about 80 minutes.

    • 08:48

      Who will be present?

      In attendance at Wednesday’s speech will be legislators from both houses of parliament (the State Duma and the Federal Council), as well as chairmen of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Prosecutor General, the chairman of the Central Election Commission, the head of the Accounts Chamber, members of the State Council, representatives of the Public Chamber of Russia, religious leaders, and over 900 Russian and foreign journalists.

      According to the Kremlin press service, a total of 1,300 people have been invited to attend the event.

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    address, Federal assembly, Vladimir Putin, Russia
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