Putin Is Not Bluffing about Confronting the West
Many analysts are skeptical about the prospects of achieving all the goals enunciated in the speech. Many Russian liberals and professional oppositionists say that the second part of the speech, on the latest types of weapons, cancels out the chances of fulfilling the first part, which sets out the country’s economic objectives in the coming years. Without going into a long argument with the supporters of this view, I want to note that these people do not even want to understand what was said in the speech. The speech included the following: the essential outlays for new weapons have already been made and weapons of a qualitatively different character either have already been dispersed to the military forces or are on their way. This means that Russia, having provided for itself a qualitative leap in armaments, may temporarily, while others catch up, devote a large part of funds intended for defense to education, medical services, science, and other spheres of the national economy. Finally, the president instructed the government to ensure that economic growth exceeds global average numbers and to implement the tasks set in the speech, which will most likely be embodied in new decrees after his inauguration in May.
Can the current cabinet become a locomotive of economic growth? Alas, past years show that it lacks vision, will, and organizational skills. These goals can be achieved only if Putin himself becomes the prime minister in addition to serving as president, unites the presidential administration and the cabinet into a single “fist,” and, having gathered a new team of young and ambitious government executives, puts his own vast political experience and public reputation to work.
Andranik Migranyan is a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, an academic institution run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.