Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has proposed greater accountability of the government, promised liberalization of society, higher wages and pensions, and a proactive foreign policy ahead of presidential elections slated for March 4, which he is determined to win.
Putin called for the creation of a system of administrative courts to be set up to hear complaints by citizens against the state.
“We will simplify the review of complaints by citizens against the state, and create administrative courts for this,” Putin stated on Thursday in his preelection manifesto posted on the new www.putin2012.ru website.
“We will guarantee the accountability of the state to the citizens its serves. We will create an effective mechanism of civil control over the activities of the state in these spheres most vulnerable to corruption: state purchases, domestic utility charges, road construction, [and] law enforcement.”
Human development, justice and freedom should become a priority for the state and its institutions, Putin said.
“The state should provide conditions to ensure the reliable protection of each Russian citizen,” he said. “Every person should have the freedom of choice while freedom should be based on justice.”
Putin pledged higher wages and new housing for public sector employees.
“A person working in Russia will not be poor. Highly skilled specialists working in the public sector will be paid wages above average,” he stated in his manifesto.
He also promised higher pensions and other social benefits and allowances.
Russia’s strategic goal is to double productivity within the next decade, Putin said.
Low productivity will become the most serious challenge for the Russian economy, he said, adding that Russia is currently far behind the world’s leading powers in productivity and energy efficiency.
“Without bridging this gap through economic modernization, invigoration of enterprise and investment growth, it is impossible to create a solid foundation for higher living standards and the country’s security,” the manifesto reads.
Putin vowed to continue the modernization of the Armed Forces and enhance their operational effectiveness.
“Our Armed Forces should have the capability to repulse the entire range of possible threats from the outside. We need a battleworthy, professional, [and] highly mobile Army and Navy,” he said.
The Russian military should become more efficient not by increasing its manpower, but by improving personnel training standards and using advanced technology.
Putin indicated Russia will follow a more vigorous, proactive foreign policy, effectively responding to any unilateral moves by its partners.
“International cooperation is a two-way street,” he said. “Unilateral steps by our partners that disregard Russia’s opinion and its interests will receive an appropriate assessment and commensurate reaction.”
He warned that rules of the game in global politics and economics “cannot be decided behind Russia’s back.”
He also appealed to his potential electorate outside of Russia, pledging help and assistance to Russian expatriates, diasporas and Russian-speaking communities abroad.