MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly, Russia’s bicameral parliament, in a new format on Thursday.
In the address, envisaged by the Russian constitution, the Russian president usually clarifies his view of prospects for the country’s development in the coming year, assesses the situation in the country and determines the most important domestic and foreign policy goals. It will be 24th in the history of modern Russia and 14th for Putin.
Earlier, addresses were held within a calendar year, and only in 2017 there was no address. In late December 2017, First Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko reiterated that it is the head of state’s right and he can fulfill it "when he sees fit."
This year, it will take place less than a month before the presidential elections, in which Putin will also take part.
The address will begin at noon Moscow time, in line with the tradition. Members of the Russian government, chairmen of the Constutitional and Supreme courts, the Russian prosecutor general, heads of the Central Election Commission, the Audit Chamber and the Public Chamber, regional chiefs, religious leaders and journalists are invited to attend. The speech will be broadcast live by Russian TV and radio channels.
Over 700 journalists representing various newspapers, magazines, internet media, TV and radio broadcasters will be present.
This year, the event was moved to the Manezh exhibition hall in the heart of Moscow instead of the Hall of the Order of St. George in the Grand Kremlin Palace where it was usually held. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the new venue was chosen because the number of participants has increased.
In addition, screens to display infographics will be switched on during Putin’s address. According to Peskov, installing such equipment in the Kremlin Palace will be nearly impossible due to technological and logistical issues.
The Kremlin traditionally refrains from disclosing the contents of the address beforehand. However, some of Putin’s remarks made during his working meetings and in public comments suggest that, among other things, that the president will mention problems of the Russian science and business environment in Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmtiry Peskov earlier said that Putin will deliver this year’s address both as the outgoing president and the presidential hopeful.
"Of course, this is the head of state’s constitutional duty, he will deliver this address as the president of the Russian Federation. However, as he is at the same time a candidate in the election campaign which currently takes place, the vision of results of his last year’s work and future perspectives will in this or that form correspond with candidate Putin’s electoral program. This is inevitable," he said.