Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to easily win reelection in the coming months, addressed Russia’s Federal Assembly on Thursday in a speech similar to that of the American State of the Union address. The speech placed significant emphasis on Russia’s growing military might, and as has long been a Russian tradition, seemed to pit that might against the United States as not only the measuring stick, but also the aggressor.
The speech opened with an emphasis on improving the quality of life for the Russian people, which Putin explained would come through technology breakthroughs and a focus on reducing poverty. He went on to call for the Russian people to increase his nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) but a whopping, and likely unrealistic, fifty percent over the coming decade. That goal, of course, could be more easily attained if the United States and other nations lifted sanctions levied against Russia in the wake of their military annexation of Crimea in 2014.
His calls for modernization and infrastructure expansion, however, rang odd – as they repeatedly harkened back to the Soviet era as the measure for success, citing instances where modern Russia has surpassed Soviet capacity (in terms of shipping, manufacturing, and agriculture) four separate times throughout the speech. Many in Russia see Putin as the means by which Russia can regain its former Soviet glory, so it comes as no surprise that the President would litter the speech with references to ways in which he has already accomplished that.
References to Soviet successes and current modernization efforts soon led to the issue of Defense, where Putin addressed a number of weapons programs the United States has long been aware of, but that have received little fanfare in the mainstream media thus far. Namely, the Satan II nuclear ICBM and other nuclear capable ballistic missile platforms.