In his 2012 review, Keller accuses Putin of "nationalist bluster in foreign relations; the reimposition of state controls over the resource-based economy; the jailing or killing of political opponents and electoral manipulation." Saying you want to cooperate with the rest of the world but that you will defend your nation's integrity is nationalist bluster, really? And the killing of political opponents is okay if it's carried out by drones by not by a hired thug?
Referring to Masha Gessen's book: ""Even the most casual Putin-watcher has marveled at his narcissism, manifested in his odd habit of inviting cameras to record him bare-chested on horseback, swimming the butterfly stroke in a Siberian river, scuba diving and collecting skin samples from whales, among other stunts'. Gessen traces his self-absorption back to his youth." Does it not seem more likely that Putin wants to be seen as a vigorous, healthy outdoors man because the Soviet Union was ruled for several decades by octogenarians? Indeed, Putin called on the legislators to encourage active lifestyles, and to:
Tax on-line purchases;
Finance long-term scientific and technological research;
Create a national professional qualifications council, and a national jobs database;
Make country life more attractive by building modern infrastructures and draft proposals for development in what have heretofore been single-industry towns, targeting support for small and medium businesses;
Oh and by the way make it possible for employers to pay all their taxes at once, while giving tax breaks to regions that invest in industrial and technology parks.
People who have broken immigration rules should not be able to enter the country for three to ten years. But businesses should be able to apply for licenses to employ foreigners.
Both inspections and offshore commercial activity should be better regulated and the latter taxed. While recognizing the need for qualified professionals, Putin wants them supervised, stating that there should be no 'executive comfort zones': business executives should be criminally liable for perjury.
Calling for better action against money-laundering, Putin also wants depositors' money to be protected from failing banks.
Reflecting Russia's reorientation toward the Pacific Ocean as a member of the BRICs nations that include China and India, he stressed the importance of developing the country's vast Far East and Eastern Siberia.[tag]
Noting the increasingly contradictory nature of global development, Vladimir Putin stressed Russia's historical responsibility as one of the key guarantors of global and regional stability that consistently espouses a value-based approach to international relations.
"We have always been proud of our nation. But we do not claim to be any sort of superpower with a claim to global or regional hegemony; we do not encroach on anyone's interests, impose our patronage on anyone, or try to teach others how to live their lives." Noting Russia's many centuries of experience, "not of so-called tolerance, neutered and barren, but the actual modern, life of different peoples within the framework of a single state," he pledged to defend international law . (There are currently 160 nationalities within the Russian Federation.)
With its usual ethnocentric bias, the European and American press take every opportunity to criticize Russia for its testy tolerance of gay life styles, overlooking Putin's far more numerous followers in the developing world. According to Putin, "The destruction of traditional values from above leads to negative consequences for society and is anti-democratic when it is contrary to the will of the majority."
Confirming what I have noted in recent blogs, Putin emphasized the importance "not only of material existence but also (religion and) spirituality, the values of humanism and global diversity."