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MOSCOW, December 12, 20:58 /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly, national parliament, on Thursday, December 12, lasted one hour and ten minutes and was interrupted 34 times by applause.
The biggest part of the Address was devoted to domestic issues. The international part took no more than ten minutes, focusing mainly on the development of relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Customs Union, and relations between Russia and Ukraine. Putin also touched upon missile defence, Syria and the Iranian nuclear issue.The president’s words about de-offshorisation of the economy, adjustments in the composition of the Public Chamber, the unity of the Russian state, the need to take into account the results of essay writing in school for admission into universities, and about an increase in the population for the first time since 1991 were met with applause.
The audience also applauded the president’s statement on the protection of traditional conservative values and Russia’s ability to defend its security.
The president also said that defence enterprises would get enough contracts to keep them busy in the next ten years, and for the first time in the history of the country military personnel have been fully provided with housing.
The Federal Assembly also applauded Putin’s words about a reduction of taxes for small business, the streamlining of entry and exit procedures for migrants, and the fight against “immoral international.”
The Address was delivered at the Kremlin’s St. George Hall at noon in the presence of about 1,100 statesmen, politicians and dignitaries. This was the twentieth address, which was also delivered on Constitution Day and the 20th anniversary of the Constitution.
Under the Constitution, the president’s annual address to both houses of parliament is his duty. The address is an executive document for the Russian authorities and identifies key problems and mechanisms for solving them. Usually, two-thirds of the address is devoted to domestic problems and one-third to international issues.
The president states the main guidelines for the development of the country in the short term and announces key decisions he has made. In 2008, then President Dmitry Medvedev proposed to increase the presidential term to six years and the State Duma’s term to five years. In 2011, he suggested liberalising political legislation.
The contents of the address are not disclosed until delivery. The address is prepared for several months, during which time different departments of the Kremlin administration work out and send their proposals to the president, who also holds numerous consultations with various political forces. The president finalises the document himself.
The address is delivered at a joint sitting of both houses of parliament. In recent years, this happened at the Kremlin’s St. George Hall, the biggest room in the Kremlin, with the floor space of 1,250 square metres.
In 2001-2007, the address was delivered at the Kremlin’s Marble Hall.
The date of delivery is determined every year depending on the president’s work schedule and the readiness of the address.
Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly contained conceptual tasks and was “quite ample and substantive in terms of content,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“The Address is always a very broad document that contains short-term, long-term and conceptual tasks,” he said.
On the eve of delivery, Peskov said the president was busy the latter part of the day putting the finishing touches to the document. The president also held many meetings lately to discuss the Address, during which “the head of state gave instructions and stated his vision.”
Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said the Address was “a document that will be crucial for political, economic and public life in our country.