On May 8th, the day before Russia’s most important holiday – the Victory Day, State Duma approved Vladimir Putin as Russia’s prime-minister. Vladimir Putin got the place of the prime minister hours after stepping down as a president. That was not just a vote for some ordinary candidate to step in Duma; that was the approval of Vladimir Putin as the head of Parliament, without any hesitations and doubts.
An hour later, the new law was signed by the new President. Today we’re going to find out, who is to form the new Cabinet. In the candidate speech, Vladimir Putin announced that this year Russia may outstrip Great Britain in gross domestic product rate and in 10-15 years may even step in the rows of economic elite.
In August 1999 Vladimir Putin was staying at that very place in the State Duma as Yeltsin’s successor, unexpected and unknown . Almost nine years later no politician can imagine Russia’s future without Mister Putin. Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the lower house and now the second person after Putin in Russia’s largest political party united Russia finds the appropriate words for the moment: ‘Today we are making a historical decision, that will let Vladimir Putin continue his work for the Motherland’s prosperity’. When Vladimir Putin received 392 votes in the 450-seat Duma, Gryzlov exclaimed: ‘This is the highest result in the vote for the prime minister ever’.
Then Vladimir Putin made a speech if not in the position of the national hero, then from the point of the person who still has the strongest power in the country. ‘From the time I stepped in Russia didn’t merely change. Without any exaggeration, it became another country’, - said the future prime minister. Then he addressed the political factions that he didn’t talk to after he was appointed a prime minister and President Dmitri Medvedev, who wanted to see all politicians on their places on V-Day.
During his 45-minute speech Vladimir Putin said a lot about his No 1 task – country’s economical improvement. There has recently been a lot of words about this issue, but the problems nevertheless, are still the same: the high inflation level and discreditably low retiring pensions. ‘Inflation today is of first priority, and we need to work seriously on it’, - says the present prime minister. But the key question of Parliament Putin called ‘stabilization of price on the food market’. The prime minister returned to this problem 3 times during his speech.
It was 2 times that Putin mentioned the question of taxation policy. The first time he disagreed with Ministry of Finance that considers Russian taxation policy is perfect. Putin ironically mentioned that he doesn’t agree. The second time Putin described taxation innovations – here, on the contrary, almost repeating ministry of Finance’s careful words. ‘It’s up to the Government to decide when and how to decrease taxes’, - said the ex-President. Again, no exact numbers were announced – neither concerning Value Added Tax, nor Mineral Extraction Text or income tax.
He tried to switch some more topics from populist to realist. ‘We need to make an important decision in order to make the minimum wage amount at least not less than minimum wage. From January 1 this minimum wage needs to be at the point of 4330 rubles’ (80 US dollars). ‘This plan requires enormous amount of money to be left in the country’s budget. I don’t want to tell you how much money we will need’, - said the prime minister, thus making it clear for the members of Parliament that they need to figure out together how not to shock the society with the amount of money required.
Putin was a bit annoyed to know that Communists don’t want to make up mind to the natural increase in the tariffs on natural monopolies services. As if apologizing for the inconvenient question about tariffs, Putin made a statement that all democratic Russia has been longing for: ‘I consider it normal that Communists hadn’t voted for me. We’ve done a lot, and this strongly lowers their political ambitions’. This was said despite Gennady Zyuganov ’s friendly words towards Vladimir Putin, who used his opposition speech to praise Putin for his traits of character; ‘Vladimir Putin has a good trait – he got on friendly terms with leaders of factions, he can listen to people, makes notes on margins during the talk and immediately comments them’.
Gennady Zyuganov ended up his speech by saying that he often offered an ex-President another job; ‘You would be a great prime minister of Russia and Belarus. I offered you many times, but unfortunately you refused. But we can’t support you and thus will vote against you. That’s it’.
Translated by Lena Ksandinova
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