MOSCOW (Reuters) - Following are the highlights of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s annual address to the federal assembly on Thursday:
HOW TO MOVE RUSSIA FORWARD
“We will create a new economy instead of a primitive resource-oriented economy ... We will become a society of free, clever and responsible people, instead of being an archaic society where leaders decide for people.”
“We haven’t managed to get rid of the primitive structure of our economy, from a primitive resource dependency ... The competitiveness of our production is shamefully low.”
ON POLITICAL SYSTEM
“In future we must get rid of the requirement for parties to collect signatures to secure access to elections.”
“Any attempts to rock the situation with democratic slogans, to destabilize the state and split society, will be stopped.”
“The law is one and for all -- for ruling parties and those in opposition. Freedom means responsibility.”
“We will continue the fight against international terrorism without compromise, destroy the bandits.”
He said the government had spent 26 billion roubles on its program to develop Chechnya and Russia’s southern regions this year and would spend another 32 billion roubles on the troubled Ingushetia region in 2010-2016.
“Next year we need to supply our army with 30 new ballistic missiles ... 5 Iskander rocket complexes, around 300 units of modern armored vehicles, 30 helicopters, 28 combat planes, three atomic submarines, one Corvet warship and 11 satellites.”
“We are not NATO members and a number of states are also not members of this bloc, but we need to take decisions jointly to strengthen Europe’s security. We need a joint reliable platform.”
“If we had had an efficient institute that could stop aggressors, Georgia would not have had the impudence to unleash a war against the people of South Ossetia.”
ON JOB LOSSES
“We will continue to create the conditions for getting people to work, especially those who are at risk of losing their jobs -- and there are more than 1 million such people in this country.”
“Corruption is one of the main barriers on our path to growth. It’s obvious we should battle this on all fronts, from improving legislation and the work of the law enforcement and judicial systems, to raising intolerance among citizens for any form of this social ill, including at grass-roots level.
“In the first six months of this year alone, more than 4,500 corruption cases were heard. Of those convicted, 532 were representatives of state bodies and local government, and more than 700 were law enforcement workers.
“These figures, unfortunately, are evidence of the scale of corruption that afflicts our society. You cannot root out the problem of corruption through jailings alone. But you must sling them into jail anyway.”
“The state of our banking sector is today satisfactory.”
“The market revival is still weak and unstable and the most dangerous thing today is to calm down.”
ON STATE CORPORATIONS
“As far as state corporations are concerned, I think they have no prospects in the current environment.”
“Corporations that work under regulation suited to temporary work should, on completing their activities, be disbanded. Those who work on commercial, competitive terms should become modern, open joint-stock companies controlled by the state. In the future, they shouldn’t be held in the public sector and should be opened to private investors.”
“Independent audits are required for these corporations, and also large companies with state participation. Each of these should have a contemporary management model.”
“The crisis has, of course, made it difficult to take decisions on reducing the tax burden, but we should return to those issues in the near future. We definitely have to do it.”
ON VISA RESTRICTIONS
“We must simplify ... the rules to attract the necessary specialists from abroad. Visas should be given quickly and for long periods.”
Medvedev said a key areas in making Russia’s economy more efficient was to cut gas flaring to 5 percent of output by its target date of 2012, and that the government would not accept any excuses from oil firms.
Other priorities include focusing on telecoms industries, with the aim of having nationwide broadband internet, digital television and fourth-generation mobile services in five years.
ON PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY
“In five years, the share of locally produced medicines on the Russian market should reach no less than a quarter and, by 2020, more than half.”
ON REDUCTION OF TIME-ZONES
“We need to discuss a possible cut in the number of time-zones and calculate all the consequences of a such decision. The same goes for the expediency of shifting summer to winter time.”
ON SOVIET LEGACY
“The nation’s prestige and national prosperity cannot be upheld forever by the achievements of the past.”
“Oil and gas production, which provide a large share of the budget revenues; nuclear weapons that guarantee our security, industrial and communal infrastructure -- this was all, to a large degree, created by Soviet specialists. In other words, we didn’t create them.”
“The time has come for us, the current generation of Russians, to make its voice heard; to raise Russia to a higher level of civilization.”
“In the 21st century, our country must once again modernize itself. This will be the first experience in our history of modernization created on the values of democratic institutions.”
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