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News Analysis: Putin's annual address confident in foreign policy, firm on domestic issues

English.news.cn   2013-12-13 04:49:48            

MOSCOW, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Rather than to be sensational, Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual state of nation address on Thursday featured pragmatic confidence and determination in unveiling pains and gains in domestic and foreign affairs in the past year, local experts say.

Noting Moscow's positive role in diplomacy over the Iran nuclear issue and the Syria crisis, Putin said Russia aspired to become a global leader without imposing its values by force to anyone.

He said Russia's actions on these issues have been resolute, well-judged and reasonable, and that Russia has never put either its own interests and security or global security in danger, which is the way a mature and responsible power should act.

"Putin wants Russia to be among the countries which shape the world order not by imposing someone's model of development, but through finding consensus," Fedor Lukyanov, chief editor of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine, told Xinhua.

In 2013, Lukyanov said, Russia has demonstrated that it had more capabilities to pursue its policy than some countries that are more or less militarily or economically superior to it.

"Russia's consistency in Syrian and Iranian problems, its courageous behavior in (Edward) Snowden's saga have gained Moscow very serious respect in the world," he said. "Russia showed that peaceful diplomacy could be a resource more important than military power."

Firm as he has always been, Putin said Moscow would not allow anyone to achieve military superiority over it, saying "Russia will respond to any challenges, both political and technological ones."

He even said the defense spending would reach 23 trillion rubles (about 705 billion U.S. dollars) in the next decade.

Meanwhile, it by no means indicated that Putin was belligerent, said Andrei Kortunov, director of the Russian International Affairs Council.

"Global leadership is a combination of a country's military might and its ability to influence the global and regional events by diplomatic means," Kortunov said.

He believes Moscow was ready for joint work with all its partners to provide equal and undivided security for all, to achieve what Putin called "shared success."

The experts agreed that Putin chose to unveil domestic economic and ethnic problems "as frankly and brutally as he can."

On one hand, he complained that the reforms set in a series of Presidential decrees signed last May have been taking " unacceptably long," saying, "Either something is being done to cause a negative response in society, or nothing is being done at all."

On the other hand, he declined to revise the goals of Russia's socio-economic development set in the May decrees, urging for " real work ... and clearly set budgets and other priorities."

"Putin slammed the federal government for poor work but he also, in effect, has shifted the burden of implementing these decrees to the regional heads," Yuri Malev, professor in the Moscow State Institute for International Affairs, told Xinhua.

"He said certain programs were not within responsibility of the federal centers and made it clear that the federal government isn' t going to allocate money in the current conditions," Malev said.

The expert said governors who gathered in the Kremlin replied with "defensive laugh" when Putin made the remarks. The president immediately fended off by saying "there is nothing funny."

The experts believe that there will be no drastic shuffle in Putin's diplomacy, famously known as judo diplomacy, but the faltering economy and other social problems may continue to drag his leg.

Editor: Yang Yi
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