Sergei Mitrokhin: Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly demonstrates hypocrisy and confusion
YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin said that the annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation demonstrated that there would be no qualitative changes in the country: the course towards militarization would remain and the policies of “tightening the screws” would go on. The President underestimated the crisis tendencies in the economy and did not mention of the conflict in Ukraine.
“Militarization, unity and consensus [of opinion] – that’s what the president wants from everyone. This means that no qualitative changes will be made: the country’s budget will remain militaristic and anti-social, heathcare, education and pensioners are sacrificed to militarism, and political competition is abolished for the sake of geopolitical adventures,” Sergei Mitrokhin said.
According to YABLOKO Chairman, Vladimir Putin’s words on the unanimity in 2016 elections represented a warning to independent parties: “The President’s call for unanimity and unity represent in fact continuation of the policy of “tightening of the screws”: any independence will be suppressed, and the disagreement with the course of the authorities will be regarded as betrayal. That is not surprising, given the general atmosphere of spy mania, suspicion, and the situation of a police state,” he said.
The call for the decriminalisation of the criminal law was simply hypocritical, Mitrokhin noted. “Given all the recent initiatives on the authorities in this field – broadening of the power of the Federal Penitentiary Service, the so-called the” law of sadists” and extraordinary powers of police – completely negate the words on decriminalisation.”
At the same time YABLOKO leader also noted some positive aspects in the address: “The statement of excessive police actions against entrepreneurs is a correct formulation of the question.” However, Mitrokhin emphasised that the topic had been repeatedly raised by the President, which meant that his instructions were neglected and not executed.
“Even Boris Titov, Business Ombudsman under the President fails to implement these good intentions,” Mitrokhin said.
According to Mitrokhin, [further] extension the maternity capital [programme] was also a positive thing. “However, to renew [the programme] it for two years only, just until the presidential elections, without indexation of the amount of payment [as of inflation] is also rather cynical,” Mitrokhin said.
YABLOKO Chairman also noted that Vladimir Putin gave a generally correct diagnosis to the Russian economy and outlined possible scenarios saying that “we will eat up all the reserves”, however, the President clearly underestimated the recessionary trends referring to the absence of any disaster. “The President did not say a word about what to do with the crisis, confining trite words about the need to change the structure of the economy,” Sergei Mitrokhin stressed.
“At the same time, Putin said nothing about Ukraine, as if there is no conflict with the neighboring people, as if there is no killing of both Ukrainians and Russians. Silencing the topic means that the government simply does not know what to do with it,” he said.
Sergei Mitrokhin stressed that YABLOKO’s proposals on holding of an international conference on Ukraine on de-escalation of the conflict in East Ukraine and conducting of an independent referendum on the status of Crimea which would be recognized by all the countries were still urgent.
“In general, the [Presidential] Address leaves the impression of confusion, the President simply does not know what to do with the country and how to get out of the deep crisis. Instead of a real action, once again we are offered a range of patriotic incantations,” Mitrokhin concluded.