The president’s address to the Federal Assembly is interesting primarily as a response to the rally at Bolotnaya Square. Everything else appears somewhat vague. When someone is leaving the political arena, whatever they might say will not be very interesting. Even if some of his ideas will be carried out, they will be carried out by other people and in an entirely new context.
There are a number of ideas that is interesting to focus on, the first of which is a package of bills submitted to the State Duma. The nation is actually being told that if it wants democratic freedoms it must accept the illegitimate parliament as legitimate. In other words, the message is that you must recognize falsification as legal because if you win, parliament will change and may not even discuss these bills.
As for the election of governors and freedom of registration for political parties, now all groups will try to establish their tiny structures. This does not mean that they will be registered because 500 signatures can still be recognized as invalid as well.
As for the vague measures to facilitate participation in the next presidential elections in six years, it’s possible that not only the law may change, but the president may change during these six years as well.
So, everything that was said on December 22 points to good political technology, an intelligent and swift reaction to developments in the country. We’ll have to wait and see how this will look in practical terms because a decision is not going to be made by the current president.
As for the decentralization of powers that the president mentioned in his address, Russia needs this, because excessive centralization leads to paralysis. If even Stalin failed to replace the state towards the end of his rule, needless to say what will happen with the president.
The decentralization initiative cannot be carried out. Its formal version – the elections of governors – will be accompanied informally by strict centralization.
The problems that Russia will face over the course of its economic modernization are very simple: corruption, which has become integrated into the government system, and its many consequences, such as unprotected property, arbitrary rule of monopolies, poverty of the population, the destruction of the educational system, and the reforms that are ruining the social structure of society.
We are facing the problem of inadequate literacy for the first time since the early 1930s. There is an enormous stratum of people who cannot express themselves properly in their own language. These are not industrious guest workers from Central Asia, but people who belong to Russian culture or are ethnically Russian. Inadequate literacy has become an economic issue during the 10 years of Putin’s rule. Uneducated people cannot use modern technology, not to mention develop it.