The traditional forum of the All-Russian People's Front (ONF), where President Vladimir Putin spoke with the first pre-election speech, was called this year "Russia looking to the future" (the organizers say that the comma was deliberately missed). Experts expected such a speech by Putin in the course of his big press conference on December 14, but the president then said that he considered that format unsuitable for presenting the election program.
Most of Putin's speech was also devoted to the future: Russia should become a leader in knowledge, intellect, social and cultural development, and outlined its tasks "for years to come." Also among the main tasks - the fight against poverty and inequality. Putin also set the same goals during the 2012 election campaign, but "the level of these problems is still high," he admitted. Russia will not be shielded from the world's trends, but it will not need "outside help": the Russians have already independently "made a real breakthrough - they have moved far in the economy and the social sphere and in ensuring the country's defense capability," the president said, comparing the current situation in the country with the beginning of the 2000s, when he was first elected to this post. He also listed those whose efforts have already provided the already existing achievements: workers and engineers, rural workers, scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers and military personnel. At the end of the speech, Putin urged "not to lose the chosen course, otherwise we will again have to start practically from scratch." "A strong, forward-looking Russia needs all of us!" - he concluded his speech.
Putin will develop the theses of his program throughout the entire election campaign - so do all the candidates, political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko believes. At the same time he draws attention to the fact that a significant part of the population was not represented among the "socially approved" categories listed by Putin, which support the president and with whom he communicates. "We should not forget that our country is somewhat more diverse than this textbook set of socially approved groups," Minchenko said. In his opinion, the president should be given a signal, in particular, to as many groups as guards and sellers: only the latter make up about a fifth of the population.
It is premature to talk about the program nature of this speech, rather, Putin and the audience are searching for intonation, Mikhail Vinogradov, political scientist believes. In his opinion, the Kremlin will study the major December speeches of the president to determine the most intonational intonation. The theses that were made on Tuesday can be used in Putin's election program, the expert does not exclude, but "the novelty effect is required".
On the role of the ONF in his election campaign, Putin said nothing, just praised his work and stated that the front he had created "did not turn into some kind of nonsense." Nevertheless, the president indicated that the ONF is in the ranks, it is also capable of fighting for it, Vinogradov said. The intrigue about the role of the ONF in the campaign of the president can be resolved after the congress of "United Russia", admits the expert. Minchenko believes that the participation of the ONF in the presidential campaign will be less active than in 2012, when Putin was organizationally based on the front that supported his nomination for the presidency by the United Russia party: "Now it seems that Putin is a separate institution, who shares his legitimacy with others: both with the governors appointed by him, and with "United Russia", and with ONF ".