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President to deliver state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly on December 12

December 06, 2012, 12:11 UTC+3

Experts are awaiting surprises which might become "the key priority" during the new presidential term

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Reports said on Wednesday President Vladimir Putin would deliver his state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly on December 12. Experts are awaiting surprises which might become "the key priority" during the new presidential term.

The ruling party does not commit itself to predicting what might become presidential priority, the Kommersant writes. One thing they do not doubt though is that they are facing further fight against corruption. A Just Russia also anticipates anti-corruption fight, hoping that these efforts will be real, not a PR campaign.

The Opposition nurtures the hope that Putin would continue the political reform in order to stop the confrontation between the protesting citizens and the rest of the country. However, part of the Opposition activists are convicted that these hopes will never come alive.

Non-parliament parties entertain the hope that Putin's priority will be "a complex political reform with transfer to gubernatorial elections and mayoral elections without any filters," co-chairman of the RPR-PARNAS Party Vladimir Ryzhkov told the newspaper.

"The draconian amendments to the laws on rallies and non-profit-making organizations adopted by the United Russia last spring and summer actually created "an artificial gap and confrontation between the protesting strata in large cities and the rest of the country."

This ground breeds political instability which contributes to "the flight of capital and the emigration of the most educated and active citizens." However, Ryzhkov said there is "no hope" as yet that a complex political reform will take place.

However, experts have practically no doubts that the president will continue political reforms. "Continuing the liberalization of the political system will become natural for Putin," director general of the International Institute for Political Expertise Yevgeny Minchenko told the Kommersant.

He is confident that "gubernatorial and mayoral elections without any filters will be required, as will the comeback to the mixed parliamentary election system." The expert believes that in this case, the country "might have its elite completely overhauled in three years." Vladimir Putin thereby will resolve one of the main tasks he is facing during his next tenure, i.e. "overhauling human resources, overhauling government."

That is why the "fight against corruption" has entered the practical phase, as was promised before the election, head of the Political Information Center Alexei Mukhin said. He does not rule out that "a Constitutional reform" will be announced.

Vladimir Putin publicly announced for the first time a possible amendment of the Constitution a week ago during the meeting with the leaders of the parliament factions as they were discussing the prospects for transferring to direct gubernatorial election. Until then, he had always spoke for the inviolability of the Fundamental Law.

In addition, experts assume that Vladimir Putin's new address will certainly contain "a surprise": it will clarify what the third presidential term will be like.

It was announced on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin would deliver his state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly on December 12, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Also on Wednesday, the all-Russia Center for Public Opinion Study /VTSIOM/ released the results of a very optimistic poll claiming an increasing number of Russians happy with their life. Curiously, the information by another sociological service – Levada Center – contradicts the VTSIOM report. Experts explain the appearance of the report flattering to the authorities with the December events: the upcoming state-of-the-nation address and the head of state's press conference.

VSTIOM's conclusion is unequivocal: an increasing number of Russians are happy with their life; the social optimism is firming and welfare estimates are improving. The sociological service proves it with figures. It appears the number of Russians happy with their life has grown from 26 to 40 percent in the past 12 months.

Consequently, the number of the discontent has decreased from 28 percent to 19 percent. Twenty-five percent of those polled stated their life would improve further still, while 54 percent agree they would live as they did. A mere 14 percent were pessimistic.

The question is why the protest sentiment has again grown in the past month despite these cheerful indicators? the newspaper wonders. The growth of the protest sentiment is shown by a study by another sociological service: the Public Opinion Fund. In October, only every fifth Russian /21 percent/ was confident that people's readiness to participate in protest actions was on the rise. In late November this opinion was expressed by almost one-third of the respondents, or 29 percent /see Table/.

Levada center director Lev Gudkov emphasized to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that in late November mounting tensions and poorer health were observed in Russians: it is the decreasing standard or living – the inflation – that is to blame. This process has been going since the summer. People see no prospects; they are afraid the situation might worsen."

According to Levada Center, 44 percent of respondents are confident that things in the country are taking the wrong course. That is, almost half of those polled. The growth of tensions is especially noticeable in regions – in small towns and in the countryside, Gudkov said, adding that "in this sense, Moscow is quieter, more sated and happier." Lev Gudkov also said the optimistic study by his VTSIOM colleagues appeared ahead of an important event – the president’s state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly: "It's perfectly understandable: they are giving a happy picture of being."







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