On the December 3 Vladimir Putin delivered his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. Over 1,000 people participated in the event, including members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, regional governors, heads of regional legislative assemblies, heads of Russia’s traditional religious faiths, public figures, including heads of regional public chambers, and the heads of Russia’s biggest media outlets.
President began his address with expressing his gratitude to the Russian servicemen fighting international terrorism and a moment of silence in memory of those who’ve died fighting against terrorists.
«Russia has long been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism. This is a fight for freedom, truth and justice, for the lives of people and the future of the entire civilization», continued the President. «…We almost succeeded in expelling terrorists from Russia, but are still fighting the remaining terrorist underground. This evil is still out there. Two years ago, two attacks were committed in Volgograd. A civilian Russian plane was recently blown up over Sinai. International terrorism will never be defeated by just one country, especially in a situation when the borders are practically open, and the world is going through another resettlement of peoples, while terrorists are getting regular financial support. Terrorism is a growing threat today. We all know why that happened. We know who decided to oust the unwanted regimes and brutally impose their own rules. Where has this led them? They stirred up trouble, destroyed the countries’ statehood, set people against each other, and then «washed their hands», as we say in Russia, thus opening the way to radical activists, extremists and terrorists.
The militants in Syria pose a particularly high threat for Russia. Many of them are citizens of Russia and the CIS countries. They get money and weapons and build up their strength. If they get sufficiently strong to win there, they will return to their home countries to sow fear and hatred, to blow up, kill and torture people. We must fight and eliminate them there, away from home.
This is why it has been decided to launch a military operation there based on an official request from the legitimate Syrian authorities. Our military personnel are fighting in Syria for Russia, for the security of Russian citizens. Russia has demonstrated immense responsibility and leadership in the fight against terrorism. Russian people have supported these resolute actions. The firm stance taken by our people stems from a thorough understanding of the absolute danger of terrorism, from patriotism, high moral qualities and their firm belief that we must defend our national interests, history, traditions and values.
The international community should have learned from the past lessons. The historical parallels in this case are undeniable.
Unwillingness to join forces against Nazism in the 20th century cost us millions of lives in the bloodiest world war in human history.
Today we have again come face to face with a destructive and barbarous ideology, and we must not allow these modern-day dark forces to attain their goals.
We must stop our debates and forget our differences to build a common anti-terrorist front that will act in line with international law and under the UN aegis.
Every civilised country must contribute to the fight against terrorism, reaffirming their solidarity, not in word but in deed.
This means that the terrorists must not be given refuge anywhere. There must be no double standards. No contacts with terrorist organisations. No attempts to use them for self-seeking goals. No criminal business with terrorists.
We know who are stuffing pockets in Turkey and letting terrorists prosper from the sale of oil they stole in Syria. The terrorists are using these receipts to recruit mercenaries, buy weapons and plan inhuman terrorist attacks against Russian citizens and against people in France, Lebanon, Mali and other states. We remember that the militants who operated in the North Caucasus in the 1990s and 2000s found refuge and received moral and material assistance in Turkey. We still find them there.
Meanwhile, the Turkish people are kind, hardworking and talented. We have many good and reliable friends there. Allow me to emphasize that they should know that we do not equate them with the authorities that are directly responsible for the deaths of our servicemen in Syria.
We will never forget their collusion with terrorists. We have always deemed betrayal the worst and most shameful thing to do, and that will never change. I would like them to remember this – those in Turkey who shot our pilots in the back, those hypocrites who tried to justify their actions and cover up for terrorists … Any issues they might have had, any problems, any disagreements we knew nothing about could have been settled in a different way. Plus, we were ready to cooperate with Turkey on all the most sensitive issues it had; we were willing to go further, where its allies refused to go. Allah only knows, I suppose, why they did it. And probably, Allah has decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by taking their mind and reason.
But, if they expected a nervous or hysterical reaction from us, if they wanted to see us become a danger to ourselves as much as to the world, they won’t get it. They won’t get any response meant for show or even for immediate political gain. They won’t have it,» stated Vladimir Putin.
Speaking on the economy issues, Mr Putin said: «We have reached the next level of cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union by creating a common space, with free movement of capital, goods and labour. We have reached a basic agreement on combining Eurasian integration with the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt. A free trade zone with Vietnam was established. Next year, we will host the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi, and I am sure we will be able to work out a mutually beneficial agenda for cooperation.
I propose holding consultations, in conjunction with our colleagues from the Eurasian Economic Union, with the SCO and ASEAN members, as well as with the states that are about to join the SCO, with the view of potentially forming an economic partnership. Together, our states make up nearly a third of the global economy in terms of purchasing power parity. Such a partnership could initially focus on protecting investments, streamlining procedures for the cross-border movement of goods, joint development of technical standards for next-generation technology products, and the mutual provision of access to markets for both services and capital. Of course, this partnership should be based on principles of equality and mutual interest».
Vladimir Putin concluded his address with a quote from famous Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev: «We will be immediately destroyed if we are divided. Our strength lies in our unity, our warriors, our benign domesticity that multiplies the numbers of our people; our strength lies in the natural growth of our intrinsic wealth and love of peace».