Putin’s Fourth Term: New Faces—Old Politics

    Alexander Lukin

    Security, Eurasia

    Russian President Vladimir Putin walks down the stairs after an inauguration ceremony in Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2018. Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via REUTERS

    Putin has set a goal of turning Russia into a “modern and vibrant country” capable of achieving breakthroughs in all areas of life.

    After President Vladimir Putin appointed his new government and issued his first decrees and orders in early May 2018, the basic outline of what we could expect from his new term in office became clear. While his inaugural address and initial decrees established specific objectives, the composition of the new government and the initial statements made by his new ministers reveal how he plans to achieve them.

    In his inaugural address on May 7, President Putin set the goal of making Russia a “modern and vibrant country” that would achieve breakthroughs in all areas of life. He explained that only a “free society that is open to all new and cutting-edge advances, while rejecting injustice, ignorance, crass conservatism and bureaucratic red tape, is capable of achieving these breakthroughs.” In his decree “On national goals and strategic objectives for the development of the Russian Federation through 2025” that he signed the same day, Putin urged the government to do everything possible “to achieve breakthrough scientific, technological and socio-economic development.” This, he said, would make possible sustainable and natural population growth and an average life expectancy of seventy-eight years—and of up to eighty years by 2030. It would also ensure the sustainable growth of real incomes; an increase in pensions beyond the rate of inflation; a halving of the poverty rate; the improvement of living conditions for at least five million families annually; an acceleration of the country’s technological development; the ability of at least 50 percent of all organizations to accomplish technological innovations; the accelerated introduction of digital technologies into the economy and social sphere; the Russian economy growing to become one of the world’s five largest; an economic growth rate higher than the world average coupled with economic stability and an inflation rate of 4 percent or less; and the use of modern technologies and highly qualified personnel to create high-performance export-oriented output in the basic sectors of the economy.

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