The results of the SPIEF: the two faces of Vladimir Putin in one forum

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at a session of the economic forum in St. Petersburg: first a presentation and then took part in the discussion. Prepared speech sounded unusual compared to rhetoric, which from year to year, Putin has resorted to this kind of public events. However, during discussions there was no doubt left: the Russian President still sees the main problem of Russia is that the Western elites ‘ attitude toward her as an enemy.

This is the last speech of Putin at the SPIEF, which brings together representatives of Russian and international business, before the coming presidential election. It was here that he was able to outline his vision for the further development of Russia.

And judging by the first part of the performance, the main driver of development should be the high-tech industry. In his speech, Putin gave the usual promises to fight corruption, liberalize the economy and increase political competition. Instead, he talked about technology and investments, in fact, repeating the main points of the reform programme until 2035, which Putin this week was presented by the Chairman of the Board of the Center for strategic development Alexey Kudrin.

However, in the second part of the speech, the rhetoric of the President has changed dramatically: instead of technical terms — rude jokes, instead of the economic agenda of international politics.

According to political analyst Alexei Makarkin, prepared by the President’s speech was aimed at an international audience in the hall, and the second block — answers and discussion — for Western politicians.

In the first part, Putin has tried to show that Russia is ready to cooperate in the modern sectors of the economy that Russia’s agenda is not only resources, but high technologies. “It was a sympathetic audience who came to hear the positive from the President. She doesn’t know why we quarreled. And that it encouraged: let’s interact. Let’s trade,” says Makarkin.

The second part of the statement was quite harsh. “And there has been said about politics, and about the sense of growing threats to Russia”, — he said.

Less than a year before the election, Putin’s speech at the SPIEF cannot be considered outside the context of March 2018, experts close to the Kremlin Expert of the Institute for social research.

According to them, in the speech of the President there are specific images of the future of Russia is such that he wants to build: and it has a place for the youth section in the framework of SPIEF, and develop “Rostec”, “Roscosmos” and other corporations to projects to support start-UPS and small businesses.

“Distributive justice, digital economy, private investment, fair justice, life chances and future for the younger generations — here is a possible agenda of the country not only for the next year” — heard experts AISI in Putin’s speech.

“Digitalisation across the country”

Even before Putin’s speech, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that the President was “sick” with new technologies and some time ago to night discussed them with a group of Cabinet members and administration officials. During the speech, it became clear that theses Putin largely duplicate the program on the first day of the forum was presented by Aleksei Kudrin, with particular attention paid to the issue of development of technological reforms.

Putin wants Russia to have achieved leadership in the new economy. For this, he said, will be a new legal framework, the state will support fundamental science and technological company and to achieve “universal digitalization and digital literacy”.

The Russian leader sees the need to establish the investment climate, what is needed, according to him, the reform of the labour market and a more open business environment.

Investment support is also a priority. Recipes from him are the same as Kudrin: maintaining low inflation and declining rates, as well as “quality of macroeconomic policy.”

Putin agrees with the program of the Center for strategic research and that the country needs a judicial reform and a reduction in Supervisory procedures, and in addition investment in infrastructure (the digital infrastructure and transport, communications, energy).

In addition, Putin promised to support talented young people.

In his prepared speech, Putin barely talked about foreign policy, and in this field looks at Putin and Kudrin differ sharply. The program Kudrin said the increased openness of the economy and politics of Russia, participation in trade partnerships with other countries.

In addition, Putin made no mention of Kudrin other proposals, for example, the privatization of state-owned companies, as well as active investment in education and health.

“The prints of horns and hooves”

In the second part of the session while answering questions, Putin has returned to its traditional anti-Western rhetoric, accusing the United States and other countries in the desire to impose on Russia the responsibility for their own mistakes.

The plenary session was moderated by the host of EN-bi-si Megyn Kelly, which is basically Putin asked the questions relating to the domestic American agenda. To the fore on the international relations, about the economy in this part of the discussion, there have been almost no word. Question technology, in turn, appeared only in matters of alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Kelly reminded Putin that all of US Agency involving exploration, as well as independent experts came to the conclusion that Moscow interfered in the presidential election campaign. She pointed to a large amount of evidence involved in the investigation, including fingerprints.

“Any fingerprints?— Putin was outraged. — The prints of the hoofs, the horns still say. What? On the fingerprints?”

According to the President, “experts in the field of these technologies” unable “to come up with IP addresses” and make it so that the attack will look as if it gave “the child is three years of age.”

Hall all these remarks were met with applause.

Also during the debate Putin recalled his work in the KGB, where, according to him, such cases were required to produce “addresses, appearance names”. “Where is it?” the President asked the laughter of the audience, refusing to consider released in the US, reports the independent.

“Let’s finish! And you’ll feel better, and we” — ended discussion Putin. It is suggested to take medication to those who refused to believe in the arguments of Moscow, the accusations against Russia compared with anti-Semitism.

Speaking about Syria, Putin in a rigid form said that attributed to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad chemical attack is a “provocation”, and accused the US of meddling in the internal politics of other countries, and then in the creation of “al-Qaeda” (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization — approx. ed.).

During the speech, however, sounded somewhat conciliatory statements. So, Putin urged not to worry about the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate and did not condemn this step of President Donald trump. “Don’t worry, be happy”, sang Putin, adding that by 2021, when the agreement will enter into force, it is still possible to achieve the desired agreements.

“It is necessary not to go into dead ends, and look for the street. With a two-way street” — so Putin sees an opportunity to restore relations with the Western world.