Vladimir Putin held a meeting with representatives of Russian news agencies and print media.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening,
I think you have managed to listen to at least a part of today’s Address [to the Federal Assembly]. Therefore, this is a good opportunity to discuss or explain some things in more detail. It covered a lot of different material, so let us use this chance to talk. I also invite you to have some lunch, so bon appetit. I am listening.
Alexei Abakumov: Mr President, the first question, if I may. I am Alexei Abakumov, RBK, television.
The question is as follows: everyone noted that today’s Address, this year’s Address, was very different from last year’s. If last year’s Address was accompanied by the noise and even roar of missiles and artillery, this one was mostly accompanied by the whisper of banknotes – the money allocated to the social sphere, for pensioners above all, for disabled persons, to address social problems, for children and so forth.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
First, I do not think that the previous address was accompanied by cannonades, as you said. We had to explain to the country where we had spent a lot of the resources and to calm people, because we had already announced that we were going to decrease defence spending.
We are decreasing it now, and many people are worried that it may result in decreasing our defence capability. We have completed a range of projects, and it would be quite natural to speak of what we have done.