President Dmitriy Medvedev makes first state-of-the-nation addressКомментарии: 1
Medvedev discussed the international financial crisis, the conflict in the Caucasus and democracy
Roughly 850 politicians and civil servants gathered to hear the president speak.
On Nov. 5, 2008, President Dmitriy Medvedev made his first state-of-the-union of address since succeeding Vladimir Putin. Medvedev spoke in detail about the conflict in the Caucasus, Russia's domestic economy and the international financial crisis. KP offers readers the below transcript of key moments from the speech.
On lessons learned during the conflict in the Caucasus and the international financial crisis
The Georgian army's attack on the Russian peacekeepers turned into a tragedy for many thousands of people and entire nations. The conflict in the Caucasus was used as a pretext for sending NATO warships to the Black Sea and later forcefully imposing U.S. anti-missile systems on Europe. In such a way, the local, reckless scheme of the Tbilisi government backfired with a growth of tensions stretching far beyond regional borders, and spanning all of Europe and the entire globe. The scheme practically destabilized the foundations of world order.
We must establish mechanisms preventing the erroneous, egotistical and, at times, simply dangerous decisions of certain members of the international community. It must be admitted that the tragedy in Tskhinvali was, among other issues, a result of an overweening U.S. administration that is intolerant to criticism and prefers a unilateral path to policy making.
I think the concept that their own world view is solely true and incontestable, which emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, ultimately led the U.S. to major economic blunders. By inflating the financial bubble to stimulate its own growth, the U.S. not only neglected coordinating its decisions with other members of global markets, but also forewent an elementary sense of moderation. They refused to heed the numerous warnings of their partners — Russia included by the way. Consequently, they inflicted harm on both themselves and others. However, as they say, there is no great loss without some small gain. The lesson of these mistakes and crises in 2008 proved to all responsible nations that it is time to act and we must radically reform the political and economic system. At any rate, Russia will insist on this.
The dramatic fluctuations in the political and economic climate and even the escalation of military and political tensions will not be used as a pretext for dismantling democratic institutions and nationalizing industries and banks. The political freedoms and private property of citizens are inviolable. I want to underline once more that the state will fulfill all its obligations before the people. According to Article 7 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, this is a social state that protects the free development of the individual, while maintaining guarantees on social safety. Thus, impinging civil liberties and impairing the material well-being of the people is not only immoral, but also illegal.
The president chose the Kremlin's Georgiy Hall as the most ceremonial for his state-of-the-union address.
On safeguarding the economy
The government passed an action plan for minimizing the effects of the crisis on Russia, revitalizing the banking system and supporting individual sectors of the economy. Today, the most important thing is to fully implement these measures. Delaying their implementation is unacceptable. First and foremost, we must break through the financial woes that have formed in the economy to allow the allocated funds to reach their end recipients.
Let's face it, the economic crisis is far from over. There's no reason to indulge a vain hope...
The worst thing that could happen today is to use the present situation to settle scores in an unprincipled competitive struggle. I am turning the attention of the government personnel, law enforcement agency employees and company officials to the inadmissibility and immorality of such actions. Today, it is easy to earn a reputation, but it is just as easy to lose it. Later, recover the reputation will take a long time, if even possible at all...
I advise whoever wishes to earn political capital on the global economic crisis, is intent on political gossip, or would like to destabilize society to achieve his personal ambitions, to read the Constitution. I consider it my personal duty to warn whoever hopes to aggravate the political situation. We will not permit the engendering of social and inter-ethnic discord, lying to the people or dragging them into unlawful acts. Constitutional order will continue to be assured by all legal means.
On Russia's democratization
For centuries, the cult of the government and would-be wisdom of the administrative machine ruled in Russia. But the individual person, his rights and liberties, and his personal interests and problems, were at best viewed as a means and at worst a hindrance to the entrenchment of governmental might.
Once again, I will repeat that this is how things were for centuries. I would like to cite the words of Petr Stolypin, who said: "First and foremost, the citizen must be established. When this is done, civic consciousness will reign in the Rus. First the citizen and then civic consciousness. Here, though, the opposite is usually professed.". Consequently, the 1993 passing of the Constitution, which declared a person's life, liberties and property to be the highest value, was an unprecedented event in Russian history.
In our time, already in a new phase of development, the Russian society affirms its commitment to the Constitution's democratic values. And as opposed to the near past, the democratic structure is no longer associated with chaos, debility and degradation among our citizens.
Now on the issue of how Russian democracy must develop further. I believe Russian citizens are ready for free activity, both professional and social and political, to a much greater extent now than during early reforms. This means activity without governmental wardship. More and more people are depending first and foremost on themselves. This presupposes that their personal success depends on them alone, and consequently the success of the nation. Thus, it is possible and simply necessary to increase the level of trust in society.
On bureaucracy and pressuring mass media
Governmental bureaucracy, just as before, as 20 years ago, is governed by the same distrust to the free individual and activity. Bureaucracy periodically makes business a nightmare, so that something will not be done wrong, takes control of the mass media, so that something wrong will not be said, interferes with the election process, so that the wrong person will not be elected, pressures the courts, so that the wrong person will not be sentenced, etc.
President Dmitriy Medvedev's speech lasted 1hr 25min and 25sec.
12 minutes — He spoke about political reforms more than any other issue. .
10 minutes — He spoke about foreign political problems.
9 minutes — He spoke about issues of democracy and the country's main law, the Constitution.
8 minutes — He spoke about federalism and local self-governance.
Reduce civil servants and maintain missiles!
During his state-of-the-union address, Medvedev was applauded 56 times. The most lively and lengthy shows of applause were made when the president said:
- "I want to underline once more that the state will fulfill all its obligations before the people."
- "Parliamentary parties must be guaranteed coverage in governmental mass media."
- "I propose increasing the constitutional terms of the president and State Duma to 6 and 5 years, respectively."
- "We did in fact prove, including to those who sponsored the current ruling regime in Georgia, that we are able to protect our citizens."
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