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Putin's bravado speech

Mar 04,2018 - Last updated at Mar 04,2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin's State of the Union address on Thursday at the Federal Assembly came ahead of the Russian presidential elections due to take place on March 18.

Putin is expected to win the election by large margin as there is no strong candidate running against him.

There was much bravado in Putin's speech, which highlighted Russia's spectacular scientific achievements and progress, practically in all fields. Yet, what stood out and received the lion's share of his address was Russia's "super" advanced weaponry programme, which he said has become literally "invincible".

The persistent poverty and high unemployment rate in Russia were given scant attention. Putin spoke a lot about the new generation of nuclear weapons, especially the so-called "invincible" intercontinental cruise missile and the nuclear torpedo model, which he said is capable of "outsmarting" all US defences. These advanced missiles, Putin claimed, travel low, stealthily and too fast for US defences to intercept.

This over-blown attention to armament took many by surprise, especially that Russia's economy is still "developing" and its national currency, the ruble, has lost 40 per cent of its value since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

For all intents and purposes, the tone and content of Putin's address suggest that a war-like condition is facing Russia.

One would have expected an address that is a fair mix of guns and butter instead of basically a guns speech. The Russian leader says that his campaign for more lethal weapons is a reaction to the US major weapons buildup.

This is understandable, but what is not comprehensible is the so much talk about weapons and so little about the perfection of the Russian democracy and the realisation of a host of economic, social and cultural rights that remain unfulfilled.

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