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MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS World Service/. Russian President Vladimir Putin began his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly in the Kremlin on Thursday noon by declaring a moment of silence for the Russian military servicemen who lost their lives in the ongoing anti-terrorist operation in Syria. The terrorist threat and ways of struggle against it in Russia and the world over were number one theme of Putin’s message. However, a greater part of his speech was devoted to domestic problems - political, economic, social and legal.
First and foremost Putin explained once again why Russia began the air operation in Syria. "In Syria, our armed forces are fighting for Russia first and foremost. They defend the security of our citizens," he said. Putin warned that the masses of militants in Syria posed particular threat to Russia. "Among them there are quite a few people of Russian and CIS origin. They are getting more money and weapons and accumulating strength. If they get strong enough and gain the upper hand, they will inevitably show up here to breed fear and hatred, blow up bombs and kill and torture people," Putin said.
"We are obliged to confront them and eliminate them far away from our borders," Putin said. This is precisely why the decision was made to launch a military operation in Syria on the basis of an official request from Syria’s legitimate authorities.
"The threat is mounting," Putin said, adding that Russia had long been in the forefront of struggle against terror. At the same time he remarked that efforts by one country were surely not enough to attain victory over terrorists, so he called for presenting a common anti-terrorist front under the aegis of the United Nations.
Putin warned that in the struggle with terror there should be "no double standards, no contacts, and no criminal, bloody business with terrorists."
"We know that Turkey is lining its own pockets and at the same time lets terrorists make money on selling crude oil stolen in Syria. With this money the warlords recruit mercenaries, purchase weapons and stage monstrous terrorist attacks, targeted against our citizens and against the citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and other countries," Putin said.
He declared that Russia would not use crude military force in retaliation for the Turkish Air Force’s attack against Russia’s Sukhoi-24 bomber, but it will surely not confine itself to economic restrictions. "We have no intention to indulge in sabre rattling and we will not do so. But if somebody thinks that after committing a treacherous military crime - the killing of our people - it will be possible to get away with a ban on trade in tomatoes or some other restrictions in the building or other industries, they are greatly wrong," Putin warned. In retaliation for the Sukhoi-24 incident Russia has banned the import of Turkish vegetables and fruit.
At the same time Putin pointed out that Russia by no means identified Turkey’s "kind, industrious and talented people" with the part of the ruling elite that was responsible for the death of Russian military servicemen in Syria.
In the home policy part of the message Putin said that competition in the course of the 2016 State Duma election campaign must be honest, transparent and in strict conformity with the law. "It is essential to ensure unconditional public trust towards the results of the elections and their firm legitimacy."
Putin urged the Prosecutor-General’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to promptly react to corruption scandals involving government procurement contracts. He warned that corruption was an obstacle to Russia’s development and a great annoyance to society.
As he dwelt on the economic situation in the country Putin said that it was "complicated but not critical." "The situation is complicated, indeed, but I’ve already said it and can repeat once again that it is not critical. Already now we can see positive trends. Industrial production and the national exchange rate have stabilized by and large. Inflation is slowing down," Putin said.
A number of Russian industries are currently in the high risk area and need government support. "First and foremost this applies to construction, automotive and light industries and railway machine building," Putin said. He said the government was obliged to propose special support programs for these industries, adding that the financial resources had been reserved for that.
Putin suggested prolonging capital amnesty for another six months and to adjust its mechanism. Tax conditions for businesses should not be changed in the near future, he said. Last year Putin promised the amnesty of capital and a freeze on taxes till 2018.
He sees the freedom of enterprise as Russia’s response to the restrictions that are being imposed on it. "I believe that the freedom of enterprise is the most important issue economically and socially. This is precisely the type of response - free enterprise, greater freedom of enterprise - that we should make to the restrictions being created to us," Putin said.
For the time being Russian businesses see no tangible results from the measures the authorities have been taking to restrict the powers of regulatory and watchdog bodies, although "all instructions on that score have been issued more than once," Putin said.
He believes that excessive intervention by law enforcement agencies is ruining the business climate in the country.
"This is outright destruction of the business climate. I am asking the investigative authorities and prosecutors’ offices to pay special attention to this," he said.
Farmland that fails to be used properly will be confiscated," Putin said. He instructed the government to establish a proper legal basis for confiscating farmland that was being misused.
In the near future Russia is to become the world’s largest provider of ecologically clean foods, Putin believes. "We are not only capable of becoming self-sufficient in food. With the available land and water resources - which is exceptionally important - Russia will be able to become the world’s major producer of healthy, ecologically clean and top quality foods that have long stopped to be provided by some Western producers," Putin said.