Vladimir Putin Presidential Address to
February 21, 2023
Vladimir Putin delivered his Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony
took place in Gostiny Dvor, Moscow.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Members of the Federation Assembly senators, State Duma deputies,
Citizens of Russia,
This Presidential Address comes, as we all know, at a difficult, watershed period for our
country. This is a time of radical, irreversible change in the entire world, of crucial historical
events that will determine the future of our country and our people, a time when every one of
us bears a colossal responsibility.
One year ago, to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our
country and to eliminate the threat coming from the neo-Nazi regime that had taken hold in
Ukraine after the 2014 coup, it was decided to begin the special military operation. Step by
step, carefully and consistently we will deal with the tasks we have at hand.
Since 2014, Donbass has been fighting for the right to live in their land and to speak their
native tongue. It fought and never gave up amid the blockade, constant shelling and the Kiev
regime's overt hatred. It hoped and waited that Russia would come to help.
In the meantime, as you know well, we were doing everything in our power to solve this
problem by peaceful means, and patiently conducted talks on a peaceful solution to this
This appalling method of deception has been tried and tested many times before. They
behaved just as shamelessly and duplicitously when destroying Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and
Syria. They will never be able to wash off this shame. The concepts of honour, trust, and
decency are not for them.
Over the long centuries of colonialism, diktat and hegemony, they got used to being
allowed everything, got used to spitting on the whole world. It turned out that they treat
people living in their own countries with the same disdain, like a master. After all, they
cynically deceived them too, tricked them with tall stories about the search for peace, about
adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions on Donbass. Indeed, the Western elites have
become a symbol of total, unprincipled lies.
We firmly defend our interests as well as our belief that in today's world there should be
no division into so-called civilised countries and all the rest and that there is a need for an
honest partnership that rejects any exclusivity, especially an aggressive one.
We were open and sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West; we said and
insisted that both Europe and the whole world needed an indivisible security system equal for
all countries, and for many years we suggested that our partners discuss this idea together and
work on its implementation. But in response, we received either an indistinct or hypocritical
reaction, as far as words were concerned. But there were also actions: NATO's expansion to
our borders, the creation of new deployment areas for missile defence in Europe and Asia
they decided to take cover from us under an umbrella' deployment of military contingents,
and not just near Russia's borders.
I would like to stress in fact, this is well-known that no other country has so many
military bases abroad as the United States. There are hundreds of them I want to emphasise
this hundreds of bases all over the world; the planet is covered with them, and one look at
the map is enough to see this.
The whole world witnessed how they withdrew from fundamental agreements on
weapons, including the treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles, unilaterally tearing
up the fundamental agreements that maintain world peace. For some reason, they did it. They
do not do anything without a reason, as we know.
Finally, in December 2021, we officially submitted draft agreements on security
guarantees to the USA and NATO. In essence, all key, fundamental points were rejected.
After that it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans
had been given and they were not going to stop.
The threat was growing by the day. Judging by the information we received, there was no
doubt that everything would be in place by February 2022 for launching yet another bloody
punitive operation in Donbass. Let me remind you that back in 2014, the Kiev regime sent its
artillery, tanks and warplanes to fight in Donbass.
We all remember the aerial footage of airstrikes targeting Donetsk. Other cities also
suffered from airstrikes. In 2015, they tried to mount a frontal assault against Donbass again,
while keeping the blockade in place and continuing to shell and terrorise civilians. Let me
remind you that all of this was completely at odds with the documents and resolutions
adopted by the UN Security Council, but everyone pretended that nothing was happening.
Let me reiterate that they were the ones who started this war, while we used force and are
using it to stop the war.
Those who plotted a new attack against Donetsk in the Donbass region, and against
Lugansk understood that Crimea and Sevastopol would be the next target. We realised this as
well. Even today, Kiev is openly discussing far-reaching plans of this kind. They exposed
themselves by making public what we knew already.
We are defending human lives and our common home, while the West seeks unlimited
power. It has already spent over $150 billion on helping and arming the Kiev regime. To give
you an idea, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
G7 countries earmarked about $60 billion in 20202021 to help the world's poorest countries.
Is this clear? They spent $150 billion on the war, while giving $60 billion to the poorest
countries, despite pretending to care about them all the time, and also conditioning this
support on obedience on behalf of the beneficiary countries. What about all this talk of
fighting poverty, sustainable development and protection of the environment? Where did it all
go? Has it all vanished? Meanwhile, they keep channelling more money into the war effort.
They eagerly invest in sowing unrest and encouraging government coups in other countries
around the world.
The recent Munich Conference turned into an endless stream of accusations against
Russia. One gets the impression that this was done so that everyone would forget what the
so-called West has been doing over the past decades. They were the ones who let the genie
out of the bottle, plunging entire regions into chaos.
According to US experts, almost 900,000 people were killed during wars unleashed by the
United States after 2001, and over 38 million became refugees. Please note, we did not invent
these statistics; it is the Americans who are providing them. They are now simply trying to
erase all this from the memory of humankind, and they are pretending that all this never
happened. However, no one in the world has forgotten this or will ever forget it.
None of them cares about human casualties and tragedies because many trillions of dollars
are at stake, of course. They can also continue to rob everyone under the guise of democracy
and freedoms, to impose neoliberal and essentially totalitarian values, to brand entire countries
and nations, to publicly insult their leaders, to suppress dissent in their own countries and to
divert attention from corruption scandals by creating an enemy image. We continue to see all
this on television, which highlights greater domestic economic, social and inter-ethnic
problems, contradictions and disagreements.
I would like to recall that, in the 1930s, the West had virtually paved the way to power
for the Nazis in Germany. In our time, they started turning Ukraine into an "anti-Russia."
Actually, this project is not new. People who are knowledgeable about history at least to
some extent realise that this project dates back to the 19th century. The Austro-Hungarian
Empire and Poland had conceived it for one purpose, that is, to deprive Russia of these
historical territories that are now called Ukraine. This is their goal. There is nothing new here;
they are repeating everything.
The West expedited the implementation of this project today by supporting the 2014 coup.
That was a bloody, anti-state and unconstitutional coup. They pretended that nothing
happened, and that this is how things should be. They even said how much money they had
spent on it. Russophobia and extremely aggressive nationalism formed its ideological
Quite recently, a brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was named Edelweiss after a
Nazi division whose personnel were involved in deporting Jews, executing prisoners of war
and conducting punitive operations against partisans in Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia and
Greece. We are ashamed to talk about this, but they are not. Personnel serving with the
Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian National Guard are particularly fond of chevrons
formerly worn by soldiers from Das Reich, Totenkopf (Death's Head) and Galichina divisions
and other SS units. Their hands are also stained with blood. Ukrainian armoured vehicles
feature insignia of the Nazi German Wehrmacht.
Neo-Nazis are open about whose heirs they consider themselves to be. Surprisingly, none
of the powers that be in the West are seeing it. Why? Because they pardon my language
could not care less about it. They do not care who they are betting on in their fight against us,
against Russia. In fact, anyone will do as long as they fight against us and our country.
Indeed, we saw terrorists and neo-Nazis in their ranks. They would let all kinds of ghouls join
their ranks, for God's sake, as long as they act on their will as a weapon against Russia.
In fact, the anti-Russia project is part of the revanchist policy towards our country to
create flashpoints of instability and conflicts next to our borders. Back then, in the 1930s, and
now the design remains the same and it is to direct aggression to the East, to spark a war in
Europe, and to eliminate competitors by using a proxy force.
We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. I have made that clear many times. The
people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kiev regime and its Western handlers, who
have in fact occupied that country in the political, military and economic sense and have been
destroying Ukrainian industry for decades now as they plundered its natural resources. This
led to social degradation and an immeasurable increase in poverty and inequality. Recruiting
resources for military operations in these circumstances was easy. Nobody was thinking about
people, who were conditioned for slaughter and eventually became expendables. It is a sad
and dreadful thing to say, but it is a fact.
Responsibility for inciting and escalating the Ukraine conflict as well as the sheer number
of casualties lies entirely with the Western elites and, of course, today's Kiev regime, for
which the Ukrainian people are, in fact, not its own people. The current Ukrainian regime is
serving not national interests, but the interests of third countries.
The West is using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia and as a testing range. I am
not going to discuss in detail the West's attempts to turn the war around, or their plans to
ramp up military supplies, since everyone is well aware of that. However, there is one
circumstance that everyone should be clear about: the longer the range of the Western systems
that will be supplied to Ukraine, the further we will have to move the threat away from our
borders. This is obvious.
The Western elite make no secret of their goal, which is, I quote, "Russia's strategic
defeat." What does this mean to us? This means they plan to finish us once and for all. In
other words, they plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation. This is how we
understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this represents an existential threat to
However, they too realise it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield and are
conducting increasingly aggressive information attacks against us targeting primarily the
younger generation. They never stop lying and distorting historical facts as they attack our
culture, the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional religious organizations in our
Look what they are doing to their own people. It is all about the destruction of the family,
of cultural and national identity, perversion and abuse of children, including pedophilia, all of
which are declared normal in their life. They are forcing the priests to bless same-sex
marriages. Bless their hearts, let them do as they please. Here is what I would like to say in
this regard. Adult people can do as they please. We in Russia have always seen it that way
and always will: no one is going to intrude into other people's private lives, and we are not
going to do it, either.
But here is what I would like to tell them: look at the holy scripture and the main books
of other world religions. They say it all, including that family is the union of a man and a
woman, but these sacred texts are now being questioned. Reportedly, the Anglican Church is
planning, just planning, to explore the idea of a gender-neutral god. What is there to say?
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Millions of people in the West realise that they are being led to a spiritual disaster.
Frankly, the elite appear to have gone crazy, and it looks like there is no cure for that. But
like I said, these are their problems, while we must protect our children, which we will do.
We will protect our children from degradation and degeneration.
Clearly, the West will try to undermine and divide our society and to bet on the fifth
columnists who, throughout history, and I want to emphasise this, have been using the same
poison of contempt for their own Fatherland and the desire to make money by selling this
poison to anyone who is willing to pay for it. It has always been that way.
Those who have embarked on the road of outright betrayal, committing terrorist and other
crimes against the security of our society and the country's territorial integrity, will be held
accountable for this under law. But we will never behave like the Kiev regime and the
Western elite, which have been and still are involved in witch hunts. We will not settle scores
with those who take a step aside and turn their back on their Motherland. Let this be on their
conscience, let them live with this they will have to live with it. The main point is that our
people, the citizens of Russia, have given them a moral assessment.
I am proud, and I think we are all proud that our multi-ethnic nation, the absolute
majority of our citizens, have taken a principled stance on the special military operation. They
understand the basic idea of what we are doing and support our actions on the defence of
Donbass. This support primarily revealed their true patriotism a feeling that is historically
inherent in our nation. It is stunning in its dignity and deep understnding by everyone I will
stress, everyone of the inseparable link between one's own destiny and the destiny of the
My dear friends, I would like to thank everyone, all the people of Russia for their courage
and resolve. I would like to thank our heroes, soldiers and officers in the Army and the Navy,
the Russian Guards, the secret services staff, and all structures of authority, the fighters in
Donetsk and Lugansk corps, volunteers and patriots who are now fighting in the ranks of the
BARS combat army reserve.
I would like to apologise that I will not be able to mention everyone during today's
speech. You know, when I was drafting this speech, I wrote a very long list of these heroic
units but then removed it from my text because, as I said, it is impossible to mention
everyone, and I was afraid to offend anyone I might leave out.
My deepest gratitude to the parents, wives and families of our defenders, the doctors and
paramedics, combat medics and medical nurses that are saving the wounded; to the railway
workers and drivers that are supplying the front; to the builders that are erecting fortifications
and restoring housing, roads and civilian facilities; to the workers and engineers at defence
companies, who are now working almost around-the-clock, in several shifts; and to rural
workers who reliably ensure food security for the country.
I am grateful to the teachers who sincerely care for the young generations of Russia,
especially those that are working in very difficult, almost front-line conditions; the cultural
figures that are visiting the zone of hostilities and hospitals to support the soldiers and
officers; volunteers that are helping the front and civilians; journalists, primarily war
correspondents, that are risking their lives to tell the truth to the world; pastors of Russia's
traditional religions and military clergy, whose wise words support and inspire people;
government officials and business people all those who fulfill their professional, civil and
simply human duty.
My special words go to the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, and
the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. You, my friends, determined your future at the
referendums and made a clear choice despite the neo-Nazis' threats and violence, amid the
close military actions. But there has been nothing stronger than your intent to be with Russia,
with your Motherland.
I want to emphasise that this is the reaction of the audience to the residents of the
Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. Once
again, our deepest respect for them all.
We have already begun and will expand a major socioeconomic recovery and
development programme for these new regions within the Federation. It includes restoring
production facilities, jobs, and the ports on the Sea of Azov, which again became Russia's
landlocked sea, and building new, modern road,s like we did in Crimea, which now has a
reliable land transport corridor with all of Russia. We will definitely implement all of these
Russia's regions are currently providing direct assistance to the cities, districts and villages
in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
They are doing it sincerely, like true brothers and sisters. We are together again, which means
that we have become even stronger, and we will do everything in our power to bring back the
long-awaited peace to our land and ensure the safety of our people. Our soldiers, our heroes
are fighting for this, for their ancestors, for the future of their children and grandchildren, for
uniting our people.
Friends, I would like to ask you to pay your respects to our fellow soldiers who were
killed in the attacks of neo-Nazis and raiders, who gave up their lives for Russia, for civilians,
the elderly, women and children.
(A minute of silence)
We all understand, and I understand also how unbearably hard it is for their wives, sons
and daughters, for their parents who raised those dignified defenders of the Fatherland like
the Young Guard members from Krasnodon, young men and women who fought against
Nazism and for Donbass during the Great Patriotic War. Everyone in Russia remembers their
courage, resilience, enormous strength of spirit and self-sacrifice to this day.
Our duty is to support the families that have lost their loved ones and to help them raise
their children and give them an education and a job. The family of each participant in the
special military operation must be a priority and treated with care and respect. Their needs
must be responded to immediately, without bureaucratic delays.
I suggest establishing a dedicated state fund for bringing targeted, personalised assistance
to the families of fallen fighters, as well as veterans of the special military operation. This
entity will be tasked with coordinating efforts to offer social, medical support and counselling,
and also address matters related to sending them to health resorts and providing rehabilitation
services, while also assisting them in education, sports, employment and in acquiring a new
profession. This fund will also have an essential mission to ensure long-term home care and
high-technology prosthetics for those who need that.
I am asking the Government to work with the State Council Commission on Social Policy
and with the regions to resolve the organisational matters as quickly as possible.
The state fund must be transparent in its work, while streamlining assistance and operating
as a one-stop-shop, free from red tape or administrative barriers. Every family without
exception, and every veteran will have their personal social worker, a coordinator, who will
be there for them in person to resolve in real time any issue they might face. Let me
emphasise that the fund must open its offices in all regions of the Russian Federation in
We already have measures in place for supporting Great Patriotic War veterans, combat
veterans, as well as participants in local conflicts. I believe these essential elements will be
added to the state fund's mission moving forward. We need to explore this possibility, and I
am asking the Government to do so.
Make no mistake: the fact that we are establishing a state fund does not mean that other
institutions or officials at other levels of government will be relieved of their responsibility. I
expect all federal agencies, regions and municipalities to stay focused on veterans, on service
personnel and their families. In this context, I would like to thank the senior regional officials,
mayors, and governors who routinely meet with people, including by visiting the line of
contact, and support their fellow countrymen.
On a special note, let me say that today, career service personnel, mobilised conscripts,
and volunteers all share frontline hardships, including in terms of provisions, supplies and
equipment, remuneration, and insurance payments to the wounded, as well as healthcare
services. However, there are complaints that make it all the way to my office, as well as to
the governors, as they have been telling me, and to the military prosecutor's office and the
Human Rights Commissioner, showing that some of these issues have yet to be resolved. We
need to get to the bottom of each complaint on a case-by-case basis.
And one more thing: everyone understands that serving in the special military operation
zone causes immense physical and mental stress, since people risk their lives and health every
day. For this reason, I believe that the mobilised conscripts, as well as all service personnel,
and all those taking part in the special military operation, including volunteers, must benefit
from a leave of absence of at least 14 days every six months without counting the time it
takes them to travel to their destination. This way, every fighter will be able to meet family
and spend time with their loved ones.
Colleagues, as you are aware, a 20212025 plan for building and developing the Armed
Forces was approved by a Presidential Executive Order and is being implemented and
adjusted as necessary. Importantly, our next steps to reinforce the Army and the Navy and to
secure the current and future development of the Armed Forces must be based on actual
combat experience gained during the special military operation, which is extremely important,
I would even say absolutely invaluable to us.
For example, the latest systems account for over 91 percent, 91.3 percent, of Russia's
nuclear deterrence forces. To reiterate, based on our newly acquired experience, we must
access a similarly high quality level for all other components of the Armed Forces.
Officers and sergeants who act as competent, modern and decisive commanders, and they
are many, will be promoted to higher positions as a matter of priority, sent to military
universities and academies, and will serve as a powerful personnel reserve for the Armed
Forces. Without a doubt, they are a valuable resource in civilian life and at governments at all
levels. I just want our colleagues to pay attention to that. It is very important. The people
must know that the Motherland appreciates their contribution to the defence of the
We will widely introduce the latest technology to ensure high-quality standards in the
Army and Navy. We have corresponding pilot projects and samples of weapons and
equipment in each area. Many of them are significantly superior to their foreign counterparts.
Our goal is to start mass production. This work is underway and is picking up pace.
Importantly, this relies on domestic research and the industrial base and involves small- and
medium-sized high-tech businesses in implementation of the state defence order.
Today, our plants, design bureaus and research teams employ experienced specialists and
increasing numbers of talented and highly skilled young people who are oriented towards
breakthrough achievements while remaining true to the tradition of Russian gunsmiths, which
is to spare no effort to ensure victory.
We will certainly strengthen the guarantees for our workforce, in part concerning salaries
and social security. I propose launching a special programme for low-cost rental housing for
defence industry employees. The rental payments for them will be significantly lower than the
going market rate, since a significant portion of it will be covered by the state.
The Government reviewed this issue. I instruct you to work through the details of this
programme and start building such rental housing without delay, primarily, in the cities that
are major defence, industrial and research centres.
As I have already said, the West has opened not only military and informational warfare
against us, but is also seeking to fight us on the economic front. However, they have not
succeeded on any of these fronts, and never will. Moreover, those who initiated the sanctions
are punishing themselves: they sent prices soaring in their own countries, destroyed jobs,
forced companies to close, and caused an energy crisis, while telling their people that the
Russians were to blame for all of this. We hear that.
What means did they use against us in their efforts to attack us with sanctions? They tried
disrupting economic ties with Russian companies and depriving the financial system of its
communication channels to shutter our economy, isolate us from export markets and thus
undermine our revenues. They also stole our foreign exchange reserves, to call a spade a
spade, tried to depreciate the ruble and drive inflation to destructive heights.
Let me reiterate that the sanctions against Russia are merely a means, while the aim as
declared by the Western leaders, to quote them, is to make us suffer. "Make them suffer"
what a humane attitude. They want to make our people suffer, which is designed to destabilise
our society from within.
However, their gamble failed to pay off. The Russian economy, as well as its governance
model proved to be much more resilient than the West thought. The Government, parliament,
the Bank of Russia, the regions and of course the business community and their employees all
worked together to ensure that the economic situation remained stable, offered people
protection and preserved jobs, prevented shortages, including of essential goods, and
supported the financial system and business owners who invest in their enterprises, which also
means investing in national development.
As early as in March 2022, we launched a dedicated assistance package for businesses and
the economy worth about a trillion rubles. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that
this has nothing to do with printing money. Not at all. Everything we do is solidly rooted in
In 2022, there was a decline in the gross domestic product. Mr Mishustin called me to
say, "I would like to ask you to mention this." I think that these data were released yesterday,
right on schedule.
You may remember that some predicted that the economy would shrink by 20 to 25
percent, or maybe 10 percent. Only recently, we spoke about a 2.9 percent decline, and I was
the one who announced this figure. Later it came down to 2.5 percent. However, in 2022, the
GDP declined by 2.1 percent, according to the latest data. And we must be mindful of the fact
that back in February and March of last year some predicted that the economy would be in
Russian businesses have restructured their logistics and have strengthened their ties with
responsible, predictable partners there are many of them, they are the majority in the
I would like to note that the share of the Russian ruble in our international settlements has
doubled as compared to December 2021, reaching one third of the total, and including the
currencies of the friendly countries, it exceeds half of all transactions.
We will continue working with our partners to create a sustainable, safe system of
international settlements, which will be independent of the dollar and other Western reserve
currencies that are bound to lose their universal appeal with this policy of the Western elite,
the Western rulers. They are doing all this to themselves with their own hands.
We are not the ones reducing transactions in dollars or other so-called universal currencies
they are doing everything with their own hands.
You know, there is a maxim, cannons versus butter. Of course, national defence is the top
priority, but in resolving strategic tasks in this area, we should not repeat the mistakes of the
past and should not destroy our own economy. We have everything we need to both ensure
our security and create conditions for confident progress in our country. We are acting in line
with this logic and we intend to continue doing this.
Thus, many basic, I will stress, civilian industries in the national economy are far from
being in decline, they have increased their production last year by a considerable amount. The
scale of housing put into service exceeded 100 million square meters for the first time in our
As for agricultural production, it recorded two-digit growth rates last year. Thank you
very much. We are most grateful to our agricultural producers. Russian agrarians harvested a
record amount over 150 million tonnes of grain, including over 100 million tonnes of
wheat. By the end of the agricultural season, that is, June 30, 2023, we will bring our grain
exports to 5560 million tonnes.
Just 10 or 15 years ago, this seemed like a fairy tale, an absolutely unfeasible plan. If you
remember, and I am sure some people do remember this the former Deputy Prime Minister
and the Minister of Agriculture are here just recently, agrarians took in 60 million tonnes
overall in a year, whereas now 5560 million is their export potential alone. I am convinced
we have every opportunity for a similar breakthrough in other areas as well.
We prevented the labour market from collapsing. On the contrary, we were able to reduce
unemployment in the current environment. Today, considering the major challenges coming at
us from all sides, the labour market is even better than it used to be. You may remember that
the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent before the pandemic, and now, I believe, it is 3.7
percent. What is the figure, Mr Mishustin? 3.7 percent? This is an all-time low.
Let me reiterate that the Russian economy has prevailed over the risks it faced it has
prevailed. Of course, it was impossible to anticipate many of them, and we had to respond
literally on the fly, dealing with issues as they emerged. Both the state and businesses had to
move quickly. I will note that private actors, SMEs, played an essential role in these efforts,
and we must remember this. We avoided having to apply excessive regulation or distorting
the economy by giving the state a more prominent role.
What else there is to say? The recession was limited to the second quarter of 2022, while
the economy grew in the third and fourth quarters. In fact, the Russian economy has
embarked on a new growth cycle. Experts believe that it will rely on a fundamentally new
model and structure. New, promising global markets, including the Asia-Pacific, are taking
precedence, as is the domestic market, with its research, technology and workforce no longer
geared toward exporting commodities but manufacturing goods with high added value. This
will help Russia unleash its immense potential in all spheres and sectors.
We expect to see a solid increase in domestic demand as early as this year. I am
convinced that companies will use this opportunity to expand their manufacturing, make new
products that are in high demand, and to take over the market niches vacated or about to be
vacated by Western companies as they withdraw.
Today, we clearly see what is going on and understand the structural issues we have to
address in logistics, technology, finance, and human resources. Over the past years, we have
been talking a lot and at length about the need to restructure our economy. Now these changes
are a vital necessity, a game changer, and all for the better. We know what needs to be done
to enable Russia to make steady progress and to develop independently regardless of any
outside pressure or threats, while guaranteeing our national security and interests.
I would like to point out and to emphasise that the essence of our task is not to adapt to
circumstances. Our strategic task is to take the economy to a new horizon. Everything is
changing now, and changing extremely fast. This is not only a time of challenges but also a
time of opportunities. This is really so today. And our future depends on the way we realise
these opportunities. We must put an end and I want to emphase this to all interagency
conflicts, red tape, grievances, doublespeak, or any other nonsense. Everything we do must
contribute to achieving our goals and delivering results. This is what we must strive to
Enabling Russian companies and small family-run businesses to successfully tap the
market is a victory in itself. Building cutting-edge factories and kilometres of new roads is a
victory. Every new school, every new kindergarten we build is a victory. Scientific
discoveries and new technologies these are also victories, of course. What matters is that all
of us contribute to our shared success.
What areas should we focus the partnership of the state, the regions and domestic business
First, we will expand promising foreign economic ties and build new logistics corridors. A
decision has already been made to extend the Moscow-Kazan expressway to Yekaterinburg,
Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, and eventually to Irkutsk and Vladivostok with branches to
Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. This will, in part, allows us to considerably expand our ties
with Southeast Asian markets.
We will develop Black Sea and Sea of Azov ports. We will pay special attention to the
North-South international corridor, as those who work on this every day know. Vessels with a
draft of up to 4.5 meters will be able to pass through the Volga-Caspian Sea Canal this year.
This will open up new routes for business cooperation with India, Iran, Pakistan, and the
Middle Eastern countries. We will continue developing this corridor.
Our plans include expedited modernisation of the eastern railways the Trans-Siberian
Railway and the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAM) and building up the potential of the Northern
Sea Route. This will create not only additional freight traffic but also a foundation for
reaching our national goals on developing Siberia, the Arctic and the Far East.
The infrastructure of the regions and the development of infrastructure, including
communications, telecommunications and railways will receive a powerful impetus. Next year,
2024, we will bring to a proper condition at least 85 percent of all roads in the country's
largest metropolises, as well as over half of all regional and municipal roads. I am sure we
will achieve this.
We will also continue our free gas distribution programme. We have already made the
decision to extend it to social facilities kindergartens and schools, outpatient clinics and
hospitals, as well as primary healthcare centres. This programme will now be permanent for
our citizens they can always request a connection to the gas distribution system.
This year, we will launch a large programme to build and repair housing and utility
systems. Over the next ten years, we plan to invest at least 4.5 trillion rubles in this. We
know how important this is for our people and how neglected this area has been. It is
necessary to improve this situation, and we will do it. It is important to give the programme a
powerful start. So, I would like to ask the Government to ensure stable funding for this.
Second, we will need to significantly expand our economy's production capabilities and to
increase domestic industrial capacity.
An industrial mortgage tool has been created, and an easy-term loan can now be taken out
not only to purchase production facilities, but also to build or upgrade them. The size of such
a loan was discussed many times and there were plans to increase it. It is a decent amount for
a first step: up to 500 million rubles. It is available at a rate of 3 or 5 percent for up to seven
years. It sounds like a very good programme and should be put to good use.
New terms for industrial clusters took effect this year, including a lower fiscal and
administrative burden on resident companies, and long-term state orders and subsidies to
support demand for their innovative products, which are just entering the market.
According to estimates, these measures will generate high-demand projects worth over 10
trillion rubles by 2030. Investment is expected to reach about 2 trillion this year alone. Please
note that these are not forecasts, but existing benchmarks.
Therefore, I would like the Government to expedite the launch of these projects, give a
hand to businesses and come up with systemic support measures, including tax incentives. I
am aware that the financial bloc does not like to provide incentives, and I partly share this
approach: the taxation system must be consistent and without niches or exemptions, but this
particular case calls for a creative approach.
So, starting this year, Russian companies will be able to reduce their revenue taxes if they
purchase advanced domestic IT solutions and AI-enhanced products. Moreover, these expenses
will be credited at one and a half times the actual cost, meaning that every ruble invested in
purchasing such products will result in a tax deduction of 1.5 rubles.
I propose extending these deductions to purchases of all kinds of Russian high-tech
equipment. I would like the Government to come up with a list of such equipment by specific
industry and with the procedure for granting deductions. This is a good solution to
reinvigorate the economy.
Third, a crucial issue on our economic development agenda to do with the new sources of
funding investment, which we have been talking about a lot.
Thanks to our strong payments balance, Russia does not need to borrow funds abroad,
kowtow and beg for money, and then hold long discussions on what, how much and on what
conditions we would pay back. Russian banks are working stably and sustainably and have a
solid margin for security.
In 2022, the volume of bank loans for the corporate sector increased, I repeat, increased.
There was considerable concern about that, but we have reported growth, an increase of 14
percent, or more than we reported in 2021, before the miliary operation. In 2021, the figure
was 11.7 percent; last year, it was 14 percent. The mortgage portfolio went up by 20.4
percent. We are growing.
Last year, the banking sector as a whole operated at a profit. It was not as large as in the
preceding years, but it was considerable nevertheless: 203 billion rubles. This is another
indicator of the stability of the Russian financial sector.
According to our estimates, inflation in Russia will approach the target figure of 4 percent
in the second quarter this year. I would like to remind you that the inflation rate has reached
12, 17 and 20 percent in some EU countries. Our figure is 4 or 5 percent; the Central Bank
and the Finance Ministry are still discussing the figure, but it will be close to the target.
Given these positive dynamics and other macroeconomic parameters, we are creating objective
conditions for lowering long-term interest rates in the economy, which means that loans for
the real economic sector will become more affordable.
Individual long-term savings are a vital source of investment resources around the world,
and we must also stimulate their attraction into the investment sphere. I would like the
Government to expedite the submission of draft laws to the State Duma to launch the relevant
state programme as soon as this April.
It is important to create additional conditions to encourage people to invest and earn at
home, in the country. At the same time, it is necessary to guarantee the safety of people's
investment in voluntary retirement savings. We should create a mechanism here similar to the
one used for insuring bank deposits. I would like to remind you that such savings, worth up
to 1.4 million rubles, are insured by the state on guarantee deposits. I propose doubling the
sum to 2.8 million rubles for voluntary retirement savings. Likewise, we must protect people's
investment in other long-term investment instruments, including against the possible
bankruptcy of financial brokers.
Separate decisions must be taken to attract funds to rapidly growing and high-tech
businesses. We will approve support for the placement of their shares on the domestic stock
market, including tax benefits for both the companies and the buyers of their stock.
Freedom of enterprise is a vital element of economic sovereignty. I will repeat: against the
backdrop of external attempts to contain Russia, private businesses have proven their ability to
quickly adapt to the changing environment and ensure economic growth in difficult
conditions. So, every business initiative aimed at benefiting the country should receive
I believe it is necessary to return, in this context, to the revision of a number of norms of
criminal law as regards the economic elements of crime. Of course, the state must control
what is happening in this area. We should not allow an anything-goes attitude here but we
should not go too far, either. It is necessary to move faster towards the decriminalisation I
mentioned. I hope the Government will consistently and seriously conduct this work together
with Parliament, the law-enforcement bodies and business associations.
At the same time, I would like to ask the Government to suggest, in close cooperation
with Parliament, additional measures for speeding up the de-offshorisation of the economy.
Businesses, primarily those operating in key sectors and industries should operate in Russian
jurisdiction this is a fundamental principle.
Colleagues, in this context I would like to make a small philosophical digression. This is
what I would like to single out.
We remember what problems and imbalances the Soviet economy faced in its later stages.
This is why after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its planned system, in the chaos of the
1990s, the country began to create its economy along the lines of market relations and private
ownership. Overall, this was the right thing to do. The Western countries were largely an
example to follow in this respect. As you know, their advisers were a dime a dozen, and it
seemed enough to simply copy their models. True, I remember they still argued with each
other the Europeans argued with the Americans on how the Russian economy should
And what happened as a result? Our national economy was largely oriented to the West
and for the most part as a source of raw materials. Naturally, there were different nuances, but
overall, we were seen as a source of raw materials. The reasons for this are also clear
naturally, the new Russian businesses that were taking shape were primarily oriented toward
generating profit, quick and easy profit in the first place. What could provide this? Of course,
the sale of resources oil, gas, metals and timber.
Few people thought about other alternatives or, probably, they did not have the
opportunity to invest long-term. This is the reason other, more complex industries did not
make much headway. It took us years other governments saw this clearly to break this
negative trend. We had to adjust our tax system and make large-scale public investments.
We have achieved real and visible change. Indeed, the results are there, but, again, we
should keep in mind the circumstances in which our major businesses developed.
Technologies were coming from the West, cheaper sources of financing and lucrative markets
were in the West, and capital started flowing to the West as well. Unfortunately, instead of
expanding production and buying equipment and technology to create new jobs in Russia,
they spent their money on foreign mansions, yachts and luxury real estate.
They began to invest in the economy later, but initially the money flowed rapidly to the
West for consumption purposes. And since their money was there, that is where their children
were educated, where their life was, their future. It was very difficult and almost impossible
for the state to track and prevent these developments, because we lived in a free market
Recent events have clearly shown that the image of the West as a safe haven for capital
was a mirage. Those who failed to understand this in time, who saw Russia only as a source
of income and planned to live mostly abroad, have lost a lot. They just got robbed there and
saw even their legitimate money taken away.
At some point I made a joke many may still remember it I told Russian
businesspeople that they will make themselves sick running from courtroom to courtroom and
from office to office in the West trying to save their money. That is exactly how it turned
You know, I will say something that is quite simple, but truly important. Trust me, not a
single ordinary citizen in our country felt sorry for those who lost their assets in foreign
banks, lost their yachts or palaces abroad, and so on. In their conversations around the kitchen
table, people have all recalled the privatisation of the 1990s, when enterprises that had been
built by our entire nation were sold for next to nothing and the so-called new elites flaunted
their lavish lifestyle.
There are other key aspects. During the years that followed the breakup of the Soviet
Union, the West never stopped trying to set the post-Soviet states on fire and, most
importantly, finish off Russia as the largest surviving portion of the historical reaches of our
state. They encouraged international terrorists to assault us, provoked regional conflicts along
the perimeter of our borders, ignored our interests and tried to contain and suppress our
I am saying this because big business in Russia controls strategic enterprises with
thousands of workers that determine the socioeconomic well-being of many regions and,
hence, the overall state of affairs. So, whenever leaders or owners of such businesses become
dependent on governments that adopt policies that are unfriendly to Russia, this poses a great
threat to us, a danger to our country. This is an untenable situation.
Yes, everyone has a choice. Some may choose to live in a seized mansion with a blocked
account, trying to find a place for themselves in a seemingly attractive Western capital, a
resort or some other comfortable place abroad. Anyone has the right to do that, and we will
never infringe on it. But it is time to see that in the West these people have always been and
will always remain second class strangers who can be treated any way, and their money,
connections and the acquired titles of counts, peers or mayors will not help at all. They must
understand that they are second class people there.
There is another option: to stay with your Motherland, to work for your compatriots, not
only to open new businesses but also to change life around you in cities, towns and
throughout your country. We have quite a few businesspeople like this, real fighters in our
business community, and we associate the future of our business with them. Everyone must
know that the sources of their prosperity and their future can only be here, in their native
If they do, we will create a very strong and self-sufficient economy that will not remain
aloof in the world but will make use of all its competitive advantages. Russian capital, the
money earned here, must be put to work for the country, for our national development.
Today, we see huge potential in the development of infrastructure, the manufacturing sector,
in domestic tourism and many other industries.
I would like those who have come up against the predatory mores of the West to hear
what I have to say: running around with cap in hand, begging for your own money makes no
sense, and most importantly, it accomplishes nothing, especially now that you realise who you
are dealing with. Stop clinging to the past, resorting to the courts to get at least something
back. Change your lives and your jobs, because you are strong people I am addressing our
businesspeople now, many of whom I have known for years, who know what is what in
Launch new projects, earn money, work hard for Russia, invest in enterprises and jobs,
and help schools and universities, science and healthcare, culture and sports. In this way, you
will increase your wealth and will also win the respect and gratitude of the people for a
generation ahead. The state and society will certainly support you.
Let us consider this as a message for your business: get moving in the right direction.
Russia is an open country and at the same time, a distinct civilisation. There is no claim
to exclusivity or superiority in this statement, but this civilisation of ours that's what
matters. Our ancestors passed it to us and we must preserve it for our descendants and pass it
on to them.
We will develop cooperation with friends, with all those who are ready to work with us.
We will adopt the best practices but will primarily rely on our own potential, on the creative
energy of Russian society, on our traditions and values.
Here I would like to mention the character of our people who have always been
distinguished by their generosity, magnanimity, mercy and compassion, and Russia, as a
country, fully reflects these traits. We know how to be good friends, how to stand by one's
word. We will never let anyone down and will always support those in a difficult situation
Everyone remembers that during the pandemic we were actually the first to support some
European countries, including Italy and other states when they were going through the most
difficult weeks of the COVID outbreak, and let's not forget how we are helping Syria and
Turkiye after a devastating earthquake.
It is the people of Russia that are the foundation of our national sovereignty and our
source of power. The rights and freedoms of our citizens are immutable they are guaranteed
by the Constitution and we will not depart from this despite the external challenges and
I would like to emphasise in this context that elections to local and regional government
bodies next September and the presidential elections in 2024 will take place in strict
accordance with the law and observance of all democratic, constitutional provisions.
Elections always reveal different approaches to resolving social and economic goals. That
said, the leading political forces are consolidated and united in the main idea the security
and wellbeing of the people; our sovereignty and our national interests override everything
else for us.
I would like to thank you for this responsible, firm position and recall the words of Pyotr
Stolypin, a patriot and a proponent of a strong Russian state. He said this in the State Duma
over a hundred years ago, but it is still consonant with our times. He said: "In the cause of
defending Russia, all of us must unite and coordinate our efforts, our commitements and our
rights for supporting one historical supreme right the right of Russia to be strong."
Volunteers at the frontline include deputies of the State Duma and regional parliaments,
representatives from different levels of executive government bodies, municipalities, cities,
districts and rural areas. All parliamentary parties and leading public associations are taking
part in collecting humanitarian aid to help at the front.
Thank you once again thank you for such a patriotic stand.
Local governments as a public authority closest to the people play a huge role in
strengthening civil society and solving everyday problems. People's trust in the state as a
whole, social welfare of the country's citizens and their confidence in the successful
development of the country depends on how they work.
I would like to ask the Presidential Executive Office and the Government to submit
proposals on creating tools of direct support for the best managerial teams and practices in
large, medium-sized and small municipalities.
The free development of society means being ready to take responsibility for yourself and
your loved ones, for your country. These qualities must be encouraged from a young age in
the family. Of course, the system of education and our national culture are extremely
important for strengthening our common values and our national identity.
The state will use the resources of the Presidential Grants Foundation, the Foundation for
Cultural Initiatives, the Institute for Internet Development and other instruments to support all
forms of creative endeavour, such as contemporary and traditional art, realism and
avant-garde, classical and innovative works. It is not genres or trends that matter. Culture
must serve the good, beauty and harmony, ponder some very complicated and contradictory
issues in life, but its main mission is not to tear down society but to nurture the best human
Cultural development will be a priority of rebuilding peaceful life in Donbass and
Novorossiya. We will have to rebuild, repair and provide equipment to hundreds of cultural
facilities there, including museum collections and buildings, which help people feel the
connection between the past and the present and create a link to the future, to feel their
affiliation with the common cultural, historical and educational space of the centuries-old
We must work together with our teachers, academics and professionals to seriously
improve the quality of school and university textbooks, first of all in the humanities history,
social science, literature and geography so that our young people learn as much as possible
about Russia, its great past, its culture and traditions.
We have brilliant, talented young people who are willing to work for the benefit of our
country in areas like scientific research, culture, the social sphere, business and public
administration. The Leaders of Russia competition, as well as the Leaders of Revival
competition currently taking place in the new constituent entities of the Federation, are
opening up new horizons for career growth for these very people.
Notably, a number of winners and finalists in these competitions have voluntarily joined
military units. Many of them are now working in the liberated territories helping rebuild
economic and social life, and they are acting professionally, decisively and courageously.
Generally speaking, nothing can replace the school of war. People return entirely
different, and they are ready to lay down their lives for the Fatherland, wherever they may be
Let me stress that it's precisely those who were born and raised in Donbass and
Novorossiya, who have fought for them, they will be and should form the foundation of our
joint effort to develop these regions. I want them to hear me: Russia is counting on you.
With the ambitious tasks facing our country in mind, we must seriously revise our
approaches to the system of professional education, to our science and technology policy.
At the recent meeting of the Council for Science and Education, we discussed the need to
prioritise our efforts, to concentrate resources on obtaining specific and fundamentally
meaningful scientific results, primarily in areas where we have done a fair amount of work
and which are of critical importance to our country, including transport, energy, housing and
utilities, public healthcare, agriculture, and the manufacturing industry.
Innovative technology invariably relies on existing fundamental research. Here, just like in
culture and I want to emphasise this we must give researchers greater freedom for
creativity. We should not have everyone just focused on the results that we will need
tomorrow. Fundamental science makes its own rules.
Also, setting and fulfilling ambitious goals is a powerful incentive for young people to
choose science as their field and a chance to prove their leadership skills and being the best in
the world. Our research teams have much to be proud of.
Last December, I met with some of our young researchers. One of their questions
concerned housing. A mundane, but important issue. Housing certificates for young
researchers are already available. Last year, an additional one billion rubles was set aside for
these purposes. I hereby instruct the Government to identify reserves to expand this
In recent years, the prestige of secondary vocational education has grown significantly.
The demand for graduates of technical schools and colleges is just huge, colossal. You see, if
our unemployment has fallen to a historic low of 3.7 percent, it means that people are
working, new personnel is needed.
I believe that we should significantly expand the Professionalitet project, under which
educational and industrial clusters are created, the educational base is updated, and enterprises
and employers develop educational programmes based on the needs of the economy in close
contact with colleges and technical schools. And of course, it is very important for mentors
with experience in real, complex production to join in.
The task is clear: in the next five years we need to train about a million specialists of
working professions for the electronics industry, the robotics industry, mechanical engineering,
metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and the defence industry, construction, transport,
nuclear and other industries that are key to ensuring the security, sovereignty and
competitiveness of Russia.
Finally, a very important question is about our higher education. Significant changes are
also overdue here, considering the new requirements for specialists in the economy, social
sectors, and in all spheres of life in our country. What we need here is a synthesis of all the
best that was in the Soviet system of education and the experience of recent decades.
In this regard, the following is proposed.
First, to return to the basic training of specialists with higher education, which is
traditional for our country. The term of study can be four to six years. At the same time,
programmes can be offered that differ in terms of training, depending on the specific
profession, industry and labour market demand even within the same specialty and one
Second, if a profession requires additional training or niche specialisation, in this case a
young person will be able to continue education by doing a master's degree or choosing
Third, postgraduate studies will be made into a separate level of professional education,
the task of which is to train personnel for scientific and teaching professions.
I want to emphasise that the transition to the new system should be smooth. The
Government, together with parliamentarians, will need to make numerous amendments to
legislation on education, on the labour market, and so on. Here you need to think everything
through, work out every detail. Young people, our citizens should have new opportunities for
quality education, employment and professional growth. I repeat: opportunities, not
And I would like to specifically note that those students who are studying now will be
able to continue their education under existing programmes. And also, the level of training
and higher education diplomas of citizens who have already completed studies under current
undergraduate, specialist or master's programmes are not subject to revision. They must not
lose their rights. I ask the Russian Popular Front to take all issues related to changes in the
field of higher education under special control.
This year was declared the Year of the Teacher and Mentor in Russia. Teachers are
directly involved in building the country's future, and it is important to raise the social status
of their work. Parents should talk to their children more about gratitude for their teachers, and
teachers should instil in children respect and love for their parents. Let's always remember
I will talk about support for children and Russian families in a minute.
I would like to note that the so-called children's budget, or budget allocations to support
families in Russia, has increased manifold rather than by a small percent over the past few
years. These expenses are the fastest growing part of the country's main financial document
the budget, the law on the budget. I would like to thank the parliament members and the
Government for their uniform, consolidated understanding of our national priorities.
On February 1, the maternity capital in Russia was again adjusted for inflation. As we
promised, it was adjusted by last year's inflation rate, that is, by 11.9 percent. Russian citizens
residents of the new regions of the Federation are also entitled to this support now. I
suggest granting maternity capital to families in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics
and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions where children were born starting from 2007, that
is, when this programme was launched throughout Russia. I will recall that at one time we
made a similar decision for the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol.
We will continue implementing large-scale programmes aimed at improving the living
standards of Russian families.
I would like to emphasise that the Government and the regions of the Federation have
been given a practical goal to ensure noticeable, tangible growth in real wages in
As we all know, an important indicator, a starting point here is the minimum wage. We
raised it twice last year, almost by 20 percent overall.
We will continue raising the minimum wage, doing it at a rate that is higher than the
inflation rate and the real wage growth rate. Since the start of this year, the minimum wage
was adjusted by 6.3 percent.
I suggest supplementing the planned increase by an additional 10 percent starting January
1, 2024. Thus, the minimum wage will have grown by 18.5 percent to constitute 19,242
Now I would like to mention adjustments to the taxation system for the benefit of Russian
families. Starting last year, families with two or more children have been relieved of paying
tax on the sale of housing if they are purchasing a new, bigger flat or house.
It is necessary to make better use of these instruments they have proven to be in
demand. Families should have more money in their family budgets to be able to resolve their
most important and urgent problems.
I suggest increasing the amount of social tax deductions: for children's education costs
from current 50,000 rubles to 110,000 rubles per year, and for costs on personal education,
medical treatment or purchase of medications from current 120,000 to 150,000 rubles. The
state will reimburse the 13 percent income tax paid on these increased amounts.
Naturally we need not only to increase this deduction, but also to make this benefit easily
available to people. This deduction should be granted proactively, quickly and online. This
process should be easy for applicants.
Next. The well-being, the quality of life of Russian families, and therefore the
demographic situation, depend directly on the state of things in the social sphere.
I know that many regions of the Federation are ready to significantly speed up renovation
of social infrastructure, cultural and sports facilities, relocation of people from dilapidated
housing, and comprehensive development of rural areas. This attitude will certainly be
We will use the following mechanism here: the regions will be able to receive now and
use the funds that have been set aside in the 2024 federal budget for national projects, through
interest-free treasury loans they will be automatically repaid in April of 2024. It is a good
We will keep this issue under constant review, and I ask the State Council Commission
On Economy and Finance to become involved in this work.
However, we don't need to rush and chase after numbers, especially to the detriment of
the quality of the facilities being built. Additional financial resources must be used efficiently
to give a high return.
This is particularly vital for the modernisation of primary health care, a large-scale
programme that we launched in 2021. I ask the Government and regional leaders not to forget
that the benchmark I have said this many times is not the numbers in reports, but
concrete, visible, tangible progress in the availability and quality of medical care.
I also instruct the Government to adjust the regulatory framework for organising the
procurement of ambulances with diagnostic equipment. They allow for medical check-ups and
preventive examinations to be carried out directly at enterprises, schools, offices and in remote
We have launched a large-scale school renovation programme. By the end of this year, a
total of almost 3,500 school buildings will have been renovated. I would like to point out that
most of them are in rural areas and we have done this on purpose. This year such work is
also being carried out in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, in the Kherson and
Zaporozhye regions. It is meaningful and visible, people really see what is happening. This is
From 2025 onwards, federal funds will be regularly and systematically allocated to the
regions for repairing and renovating kindergartens, schools, vocational schools and colleges so
as to avoid situations where buildings are in dilapidated condition.
Next, we have set a major goal, to build more than 1,300 new schools between 2019 and
2024. Of these, 850 are now open. Another 400 will open this year. I want the regions to stay
on track to meet these objectives. The amount of federal funding for this 20192024
programme is almost 490 billion rubles. We will not cut these costs, we will keep this amount
This year, we increased the amount of infrastructure budget loans. We are sending
additional funds, not as previously planned, but an additional 250 billion rubles for expanding
transport, utility and other infrastructure in the regions.
I hereby instruct the Government to allocate, in addition to these funds, an additional 50
billion rubles which will be purposefully used to upgrade public transport in the constituent
entities of the Federation this year. This upgrade will be used for the latest technology. Please
pay special attention to small towns and rural areas.
We have decided to extend the Clean Air project through 2030. The goal is to improve
the environment in major industrial centres. I want industrial companies and regional and
local authorities to keep in mind that a significant reduction in harmful emissions remains on
In addition, we have accomplished much in reforming the waste management industry.
We are building up recycling and sorting capacity which will help us build a closed-loop
economy. Further elimination of old landfills and hazardous material sites is our top priority. I
want the Government, in conjunction with the regions, to draft a list of harmful sites that will
be eliminated upon the completion of this programme.
We will continue to restore unique water bodies, including Lake Baikal and the Volga
River. In the medium term, we will extend this work to other rivers such as the Don, Kama,
Irtysh, Ural, Terek, Volkhov and Neva rivers, and Lake Ilmen. We must not forget about
medium and small rivers. I want all levels of government to pay attention to this.
As part of an earlier instruction, a draft law on promoting tourism in specially protected
nature areas has been submitted. It was recently discussed at a meeting with the Government.
It should clearly define what can be built and where and what cannot, and generally set forth
the principles of the ecotourism industry. This is a critically important issue for our country. I
ask the State Duma to speed up consideration of this draft law.
Now I will say a few words about what is happening around us.
Colleagues, I will talk about one more issue.
In early February, the North Atlantic alliance made a statement with actual demand to
Russia, as they put it, to return to the implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,
including admission of inspections to our nuclear defence facilities. I don't even know what to
call this. It is a kind of a theatre of the absurd.
We know that the West is directly involved in the Kiev regime's attempts to strike at our
strategic aviation bases. The drones used for this purpose were equipped and updated with the
assistance of NATO specialists. And now they also want to inspect our defence facilities? In
the current conditions of confrontation, it simply sounds insane.
I would like to draw your attention specifically to the fact that they are not letting us
conduct full-scale inspections under this treaty. Our repeated applications to inspect different
facilities remain unanswered or are rejected under formal pretexts, and we cannot verify
anything on the other side.
I would like to stress that the United States and NATO are openly saying that their goal is
to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. And what, after such statements they are supposed to
tour our defence facilities, including the latest ones, as if nothing happened? A week ago, I
signed an executive order putting new land-based strategic systems on combat duty. Are they
going to poke their nose there as well? Do they think we will let them go there just
Having made this collective statement, NATO actually claimed to be a participant in the
Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms. We agree with this, please go ahead. Moreover, we
believe this framing of the issue is long overdue. Let me recall that the US is not the only
nuclear power in NATO. Britain and France also have nuclear arsenals. They are developing
and upgrading them and these arsenals are also directed against us they are also directed
against Russia. The latest statements by their leaders merely confirm it listen for
We cannot just ignore this and have no right to do so especially now. Nor can we forget
that the Soviet Union and the United States initially signed the first Treaty on Strategic
Offensive Arms in 1991 in a completely different situation in conditions of abating tensions
and growing mutual trust. Subsequently, our relations reached a level that allowed Russia and
the US to say they no longer considered each other enemies. Wonderful, everything was going
The Treaty of 2010 that is in force contains critically important provisions about
indivisible security and the direct link between strategic offensive and defensive arms. All of
that has long been forgotten. The United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty. It is now a
thing of the past. Importantly, our relations have degraded which can be credited entirely to
the United States.
After the Soviet Union broke up, they began to revise the outcomes of World War II and
to build an American-style world ruled by one master. To do this, they began to rudely
destroy the foundations of the international order laid down after WWII in order to cross out
the legacy of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Step by step, they proceeded to revise the
existing international order, to dismantle security and arms control systems, and plotted and
carried out a series of wars around the world.
To reiterate, all of that was done for the sole purpose of dismantling the post-WWII
architecture of international relations. This is not a figure of speech. This is how it all
unfolded in reality. After the Soviet Union collapsed, they sought to perpetuate their global
dominance regardless of the interests of modern Russia or other countries for that matter.
Sure enough, the international situation changed after 1945. New centres of growth and
influence have been formed and are rapidly expanding. This is a natural and objective process
that cannot be ignored. But the United States trying to refashion the international order to suit
exclusively its own needs and selfish interests is unacceptable.
Now, they are using NATO to give us signals, which, in fact, is an ultimatum whereby
Russia should, no questions asked, implement everything that it agreed to, including the New
START Treaty, whereas they will do as they please. As if there is no connection between
strategic offensive weapons and, say, the conflict in Ukraine or other hostile Western actions
against our country. As if there are no vociferous claims about them seeking to inflict a
strategic defeat on us. This is either the height of hypocrisy and cynicism, or the height of
stupidity, but they are not idiots. They are not stupid after all. They want to inflict a strategic
defeat on us and also to get to our nuclear sites.
In this regard, I am compelled to announce today that Russia is suspending its
membership in the New START Treaty. To reiterate, we are not withdrawing from the
Treaty, but rather suspending our participation. Before we come back to discussing this issue,
we must have a clear idea of what NATO countries such as France or Great Britain have at
stake, and how we will account for their strategic arsenals, that is, the Alliance's combined
Their statement comes, in fact, as a request to join this process. Well, come onboard, we
do not mind. Just try not to lie to everyone this time and present yourselves as champions of
peace and detente. We know the truth. We are aware of the fact that certain types of US
nuclear weapons are reaching the end of their service life. In this regard, we know for certain
that some politicians in Washington are already pondering live nuclear tests, especially since
the United States is developing innovative nuclear weapons. There is information to that
Given these circumstances, the Defence Ministry and Rosatom must make everything
ready for Russia to conduct nuclear tests. We will not be the first to proceed with these tests,
but if the United States goes ahead with them, we will as well. No one should harbour
dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be disrupted.
Colleagues, citizens of Russia,
Today, we are together living through challenging times and overcoming all difficulties
together as well. It could not have been otherwise because we have been raised on the
example of our great ancestors and must be worthy of their behests that are passed down from
generation to generation. We are moving only forward owing to our devotion to our
Motherland, our will and our unity.
This cohesion was on display from the first days of the special military operation
hundreds of volunteers, representatives of all ethnicities of our country came to recruitment
offices. They decided to stand by the defenders of Donbass, to fight for their native land, for
their Fatherland, for the truth and justice. Today, warriors from all regions of our multi-ethnic
Motherland are fighting shoulder to shoulder on the frontlines. They pray in different
languages, but they all pray for victory, for their fellow soldiers and for the Motherland.
Their difficult military labour, their exploits are finding a powerful response all over
Russia. People are supporting our fighters. They don't want to stay on the sidelines. The front
is now passing through the hearts of our people in their millions. They are sending medicine,
communication devices, transport, warm clothes and camouflage nets, to name a few
everything that helps protect the lives of our fighters.
I know the comfort letters from children and schoolkids give to our soldiers at the front.
They take them into battle as a cherished possession because the sincerity and purity of
children's wishes bring tears to their eyes. They feel more forcefully for whose sake they are
fighting and whom they are defending.
Warriors, their families and civilians greatly appreciate the care with which volunteers are
surrounding them. They have been acting boldly and decisively from the very start of the
special military operation. Under fire and shelling they are leading children, elders and all
those in trouble out of basements; they were and still are bringing food, water and clothes to
hot spots; they are setting up humanitarian aid centres for refugees and helping doctors in
field hospitals and on the combat contact line; they continue to risk their lives to save
The Russian Popular Front alone raised over five billion rubles as part of the All for
Victory initiative. The flow of donations does not stop. Every contribution is important and
this applies to those made by large companies and businesspeople. But especially touching and
inspiring are the donations of people with modest incomes, which are contributing part of
their savings, salaries and pensions. This coming together to help our warriors, civilians in the
zone of hostilities and refugees is worth a lot.
Thank you for this sincere support, cohesion and mutual aid. It is impossible to overstate
Russia will meet any challenges because we are all one country, a big and united nation.
We are confident in ourselves and confident in our strength. The truth is on our side.