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People's Daily Online

Putin's presidential address focuses on economy, highlights Russia-China relations

People's Daily Online

(CRI Online) 10:57, December 03, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest state-of-the-nation address has political circles buzzing, with many noting his comments connected to Russia's ties with China, as well as Russia's relationship with the United States.

Speaking to a gathering of leading political and economic figures at Moscow's Great Kremlin Palace, Vladimir Putin has praised his compatriots for a display of national unity.

"As we can see, our people have united together, and we need to thank them for doing so. We are seeing a display of patriotic values not because our people are satisfied with everything, but because they are understanding of our challenges and trusting in our nation. Our unity will help us overcome all difficulties. "

Putin's speech has stressed the need for the stable development of the Russian society, given what he calls a rising number of social and political conflicts around the world.

Most of the presidential address has been devoted to domestic issues.

When it comes to the economy, Putin says Russia has managed to slow a trend of negative growth, which saw the country's GDP decline by 3.7% last year.

He says emphasis will be given to boosting Russia's agricultural and IT industries, while small businesses will also receive extra support.

"I'd like to emphasize, a stabilizing economy does not mean it will automatically register consistent growth. If we do not address the fundamental problems in our economy and do not have new growth engines, then our economy could linger around zero-growth for the next few years. "

Putin has also set out long-term development goals for the Russian economy, including a growth rate above the global average by 2020.

On foreign policy, Putin says Russia wants peaceful development with the international community while protecting its interests and rights.

He says China remains an important partner of Russia, suggesting bilateral ties between the two nations can serve as a healthy example for other countries.

"In the current difficult situation, the Russia-China strategic partnership has become one of the key factors in ensuring global and regional stability. It serves as a model of international relations based not on the idea of one country's domination, no matter how strong it is, but on an all-encompassing respect for the interests of all states."

Beyond China, Putin also says India and Japan remain important Asian neighbors of Russia.

And in a departure from an often hostile stance toward US policies, Putin says Russia is now ready to cooperate with the new U.S. administration, saying it is important to "normalize and start developing bilateral relations based on mutually beneficial grounds. "

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