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Expert Commentary

Vladimir Pribylovsky (RFE/RL)

'LITTLE CONNECTION WITH REAL LIFE': On May 10, VLADIMIR PRIBYLOVSKY, director of the Panorama think tank in Moscow, spoke to RFE/RL's Russian Service about President Vladimir Putin's state-of-the-nation address.

Vladimir Pribylovsky: Such speeches are typically dominated by rhetoric, and, essentially, President Putin's addresses usually seem to have little connection to real life. His state-of-the-nation addresses have never made any mention of his main activities during his six years in office. He ransacked NTV, but he didn't say anything about it in his speeches in 2000 and 2001. He destroyed Yukos, but didn't say anything about that in his speech. He changed how [regional] governors were elected at the same time he was saying in his address that such a thing would never happen. And so on.
Of the things he said today, I noticed only one concrete promise -- practically a decree -- and that was to increase benefits for children, for first and second children. Everything else was more like wishful thinking. He said some people's toes are going to get stepped on. Some people took that to mean he was talking about business; others thought he was talking about the U.S. vice president. But again, we've already come across these thoughts and assumptions -- some people had thought he would chew over national projects, and other people thought he was going to talk about foreign policy.

MORE: To read a transcript of the complete interview in Russian, click here.


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