MOSCOW, April 20, 2011 — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said in his annual address to parliament that Russia must be strong to withstand foreign interference.
“In today’s world, if you’re weak, someone will surely come and give you advice on what direction you should take, what kind of policy you should pursue, and what path you should choose for your own development,” he said.
“And this, supposedly, well-meaning, unobtrusive advice may not seem that bad, but what’s behind it is flagrant diktat and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.”
In his address to the State Duma lower house of parliament, which lasted more than two hours, Putin praised his government’s achievements saying that Russia had managed to avoid “serious shocks and risks.” at a time of global crisis.
Putin also said that Russia needed “decades of stable, calm development, without any sways or rash experiments based on unjustified liberalism or social demagogy.”
In addressing the economy, the Russian prime minister also forecasted annual growth this year of around 4.2 percent, which he said will mean that Russia will have ” fully compensated for the losses caused by the crisis” by the beginning of 2012.
The address was Putin’s last report to the current State Duma — which is dominated by his United Russia party — before parliamentary elections in December, and the 2012 Russian presidential election.
Both Putin, who was Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008, and current President Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s handpicked successor, are expected to run in the 2012 vote.
Putin did not directly allude to the election in his wide-ranging address but analysts say it sounded much like a campaign speech.
compiled from agency reports