Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver his annual address to the Federal Assembly in the first quarter of next year, Russian Federation Council upper house Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told a news conference.
“Believe me, there are no hidden meanings, conspiracy versions that emerge in media outlets from time to time,” the speaker said when asked why the president had not delivered his State of the Nation Address at the end of the outgoing year.
“The president has commitments to annually address the Federal Assembly, which he does on a regular basis. It is not specified there that this must be done before the New Year, there are no specific dates,” she said.
“This year the president will deliver his address in March. The date will be coordinated depending on the president’s schedule, international commitments etc,” Matviyenko said.
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to specify the date of the State of the Nation Address, saying “it is early at the moment to discuss a concrete date”.
Putin’s previous State of the Nation Address was delivered on March 1, 2018. In fact, it reviewed the previous year, as Putin did not address the two houses of the Russian parliament in 2017. Previously, between 2008 and 2016, all addresses to the Federal Assembly came at the end of the year, in November or in December. Before that, from 2000 to 2007, they were delivered in the first half of the year, in April-May, with the exception of Putin’s very first State of the Nation Addressed delivered on July 8, 2000.
In the State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly, the president assesses the situation in the country and designates the main trajectories in the domestic and foreign policy. It is not only the right, but also the duty of the head of state recorded in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
This practice was introduced by President Boris Yeltsin, who delivered his first speech to the parliament on February 24, 1994. All in all, he had delivered six state of the nation addresses to the Federal Assembly. President Putin has addressed the Federal Assembly 14 times, while Dmitry Medvedev delivered four state of the nation addresses as President.