Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public appearances are a good source of possible clues about the future direction of Russian foreign policy. Here is what we’ve learned from these appearances over the past 12 months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his hand on his ear while listening to a newsman’s question as he leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. Friday, Oct. 2 , 2015. Photo: AP
To mark the occasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 63rd birthday, Russia Direct has compiled the following analyses of Putin’s most important speeches and public appearances over the past year to give you a sense of his worldview.
1. Presidential address to the Federal Assembly, 2014
Putin delivered his traditional presidential address to the Federal Assembly on December 5, 2014. In this much-anticipated year-end address, he did not make any major surprise announcements about Russian domestic or foreign policy. Instead, he focused on themes related to patience and stability.
Read our analysis here: These are the major highlights from Vladimir Putin's year-end speech.
2. The December annual press conference, 2014
The Russian president held his 10th annual press conference on December 18, 2014. The question-and-answer session traditionally wraps up the year and completes the Russian leader’s series of major press events. At Putin’s final press conference of 2014, he answered reporters’ questions on a range of topics from the fall of the ruble, the Ukraine crisis and relations with the United States to the size of his salary.
For more details, read: Putin wraps up Russia's year with economic reassurances.
3. March television interview, 2015
In a television interview aired on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the events in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a voluntary and unexpected confession: The decision to incorporate Crimea into Russia was taken by him at a secret meeting at the Kremlin held during the night of Feb. 22, 2014, well before the referendum held by the citizens of the peninsula on March 16.
For deeper insight, read: Making sense of Putin's Crimea confession.
4. The April Direct Line, 2015
The annual televised event “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,” which took place on April 16, 2015 once again demonstrated the President’s remarkable understanding of what’s happening in the international arena. However, some analysts argued that there is growing concern that he may be letting Russia’s domestic problems drift without developing any long-term strategy for addressing them.
To learn more, read this: Putin's 'Direct Line' did not offer any direct solutions.
5. The President, documentary
In May 2015 a documentary film about Vladimir Putin – “The President” – was aired on Russian television on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Putin’s rise to power. The documentary offers a tour through the 15 years that Putin has been in power. It raised concerns that a new “cult of personality” was starting to emerge within the Kremlin.
Read what this means for Russia here: 'The President' and the cult of personality 2.0.
6. Putin's Victory Day speech
During the nationwide celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on May 9, Putin demonstrated how the Kremlin uses the symbolic content of May 9 to promote its domestic and foreign policy goals.
For more details, read this article: Putin's Victory Day speeches as clues to Russia's foreign policy.
7. Putin's Sept. 28 UN speech
On Sept. 28, 2015 Putin delivered his much-anticipated address to the UN General Assembly, which demonstrated the growing confidence of the Kremlin on the global stage. The Syria crisis and the ISIS threat are now being used by Moscow as assets to highlight its important role in dealing with global challenges.
Read the overview of Putin’s UN speech here: Putin's UN speech showcases Russia's view of the global order.