IIn Russian society, her president said on Wednesday at the beginning of his 16th speech on the state of the nation, a "demand for change" had become clear. After that, Vladimir Putin promised many benefits, especially more government support for families with children and free school lunches. It is about fighting poverty and stopping the population decline, which was as strong last year as it has not been since 2008.
This is due to concerns of the elite about growing dissatisfaction with the United Russia power party in the face of stagnation and low wages. Putin also repeated old promises such as that of better protecting entrepreneurs from law enforcement. Because of such appeals, hardly anyone would soon remember this “message” – this is the official speech on the state of the nation.
The decisive part was the political part of the almost one and a quarter hour long speech to hundreds of listeners: top representatives from institutions, religious communities and society who had gathered in the "Manege" event center at the Kremlin. Putin's statements on this should mark a departure into continuity: Now the legislative and personnel preparation for the period after 2024 begins when Putin's fourth term as president expires. Then Putin will not be allowed to run again under the current constitution. Pursuant to Article 81, the same person cannot be president for more than two terms "in succession".
A new office for Putin?
In the past month, Putin had suggested removing this restriction. That would certainly not enable him to remain in office, not even after another exchange of office with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a placeholder. Putin and Medvedev carried out such a castling in 2008: Medvedev served as president until 2012, but Putin was in charge as prime minister.
Now Putin has agreed to the previous rule on the limitation of terms of office, even if he considers the question "not in principle". But at the latest with the appearance on Wednesday, the discussion about a putin (however it can be done) remained in the presidency in the background. Rather, it suggests that the network will remain in power, with Putin as the puller, possibly as the “leader of the nation”. So called a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church president on Wednesday, possibly alluding to the honorary title Nursultan Nazarbayev, ruler of Kazakhstan. The latter formally gave up the presidency in 2019, but in fact has remained in power.
The transformation that Putin is now initiating could serve as a model. He wants to anchor the “status and role” of the State Council in the constitution. Putin had revived a short-lived body of this name from the final phase of the Soviet Union in 2000. In the meantime, the State Council, chaired by the President, brings together the heads of the regions, both chambers of parliament and the parliamentary groups in the Duma, the lower house. The State Council meets at least three times a year, most recently dealing with agricultural issues at the end of December. The committee has so far remained colorless and does not even have its own website. It is unclear what the “high effectiveness” Putin is now praising. Obviously it is about an upgrade, the goal is still unclear.
. (tagsToTranslate) Vladimir Putin (t) Dmitry Medvedev (t) Vyacheslav Wolodin (t) Friedrich Schmidt (t) Nursultan Nazarbayev (t) United Russia (t) Church