Crimea, Ukraine and the West: The Highlights of Putin’s Annual Speech

Crimea, Ukraine and the West: The Highlights of Putin’s Annual Speech

Reuters

Dec. 04 2014 13:53

Kremlin: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, regional governors, heads of Russia’s traditional religious faiths and public figures, at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 4, 2014.

In his annual state of the union address on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin portrayed Russia as a strong state that would overcome its current difficulties.

Here is a roundup of the best quotes:

Ruble

“The Central Bank has moved to a floating rate but that does not mean that it has moved away from influencing the ruble market, that the ruble exchange rate can be the subject of financial speculation without consequences.”

“I ask the Central Bank and the government to carry out tough coordinated action to fight off the desire of the socalled speculators to play on the fluctuations of the Russian currency.”

“The authorities know who these speculators are and has instruments to influence them. The time has come to use those instruments.”

Sanctions

“This is not just a nervous reaction of the United States and their allies to our stance in regard to the events and coup in Ukraine; not even in regard to the socalled Crimean spring. I am certain that if all this did not take place… they would come up with another reason to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, to influence it or, even better, use it for its own goals.”

“The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been applied to our country for many, many years.. every time when anyone only thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately.”

“But there is no point in talking to Russia from a position of strength.”

“We will never pursue the path of self isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and search of enemies. All this is manifestation of weakness, while we are strong and self confident.”

“Our goal is to have as many equal partners in the West and in the East … Under no circumstances are we going to wind down our ties with Europe.”

Economy

“I propose freezing the current tax conditions and not changing them for the next four years.”

“I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia … This means that if people legalize their resources and property in Russia, they get firm guarantees that they won’t be bothered by various bodies, including law enforcement bodies; that they won’t be bothered or asked about the source and the ways the capital was acquired; that they won’t run into criminal or administrative persecution; that there will be no questions from the tax and law enforcement bodies to them.”

“Let’s do it now but [only] once.”

“Everyone wishing to should take this [opportunity.]”

“We all understand that the origins of money can be different, they were earned and obtained in various ways, but I am confident that the offshore page in the history of our economy, our country should be closed.”

“As for small business, I propose providing ‘inspection holidays’ for them. If an enterprise enjoys a solid reputation, and it had no significant complaints in three years, then over the next three years I propose not to carry out planned checks on the state and local levels at all.”

“The quality and the scale of the Russian economy should correspond with our geopolitical and historic role. We should escape the trap of zero growth. In three to four years we should reach a growth pace exceeding the global average.”

“This is the only way to raise Russia’s share in the global economy, which means to strengthen our influence and independence.”

Crimea

“Finally, there was a historic reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.”

“For Russia, Crimea … has a great civilizational and sacred meaning.”

Ukraine

“Every nation has an inalienable, sovereign right to its own path of development … Russia always has and always will respect that. This applies fully to Ukraine, the brotherly Ukrainian nation.”

“We have condemned the coup, the forcible seizure of power in Kiev in February. What we are seeing now in Ukraine, the tragedy in the southeast, fully confirms that our position is right.”

“How can one support an armed seizure of power, violence, murder? … How can one support the attempts that followed to suppress with the help of armed forces the people in the southeast who did not agree with this lawlessness? … This is pure cynicism. I am sure that the Ukrainian nation itself will judge these events in a just way.”

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