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Buzz Barometer: Kremlin 'Doesn't Have a Roadmap'
December 5, 2014 22:38

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The speech of the Russian president addressed to both chambers of the Russian parliament, and indirectly, the West, was extensively covered by the foreign media.
Time said that ‘the applause Putin received this time was a lot more muted’. “Not a single standing ovation interrupted him, and even the most crowd-pleasing quips – “Our army,” Putin said, “is polite but terrifying” – hardly got more than a chuckle and a golf clap,” the magazine went on to say.
“But the trouble at the top of most people’s minds in Moscow was not the one beamed in from Chechnya by the television news. It was the one afflicting the savings accounts and travel plans of millions of regular Russians. The national currency, the ruble, has lost about 40% of its value against the dollar since Putin’s annexation of Crimea, and that has made it a lot harder for Russians to afford the foreign holidays and Western goods they love,” wrote the US media.
The message of the story as it is presented by Time is that “Putin did not have much of a roadmap at all” to reverse the negative economic trends. 
“It even seemed like Putin took to the podium not because he had something important to say, but only because he was constitutionally obligated to do so,” it quotes Sergey Aleksashenko, a prominent economist and former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, as saying.
“The superficial analysis of the situation reflected a disconnect with real life, an ‘alternate reality,’ in which the Kremlin now seems to live,” Aleksashenko wrote in an analysis of the President’s speech.
The Washington Post points out that while “Putin’s popularity ratings remain near record highs, but surging inflation and diminished growth have made many Russians increasingly pessimistic about the economy.”
The WP focused on defense spending that’s going up, but as the Kremlin boss said Russia does “not desire a new arms race with the West”.
“In his speech, delivered in a vast gilt hall in the Kremlin, Putin said Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s autonomous Crimean Peninsula in March was a “historic event” that would not be reversed. He likened Crimea to the Temple Mount — a sacred site in Judaism, Islam and Christianity — in its foundational importance to Russian civilization. The Crimean annexation kicked off the worst stretch of relations between the West and Russia since the Cold War,” says the Washington Post.

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Buzz Barometer Kremlin    

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