Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Putin Without Surprises

Today was the day of Russian President Putin annual "state of the union" address.

It was in the corresponding speech last year that he ventured into a number of very pecular theories and thoughts. Those interested in the details can read my rather detailed blog entry on the subject from a year ago.

But this year they seem to have learnt that lesson - as well as the one from the rather remarkable series of pronoucement on energy issues that we have seen coming out of Moscow lately.

They probably concluded that they did not have more feets to shoot themselves in.

So it was a rather eventless but not necessarily uninteresting speech that was delivered in the great hall in the Kremlin.

The most important focus was on overcoming the demographic decline of Russia. At present the country is declining with 700 000 people every year. There will not be enough men to fill the ranks of the army President Putin wants to build to assure the greatness of the country.

But he also acknowledged that the performance of the economy is falling short of his declared aim of doubling GDP within a decade. Less clear was however what he wanted to do about it.

No major surprises, that is.