Russia: tense wait for the presidential address

The annual presidential address to the Russian Federal Assembly - or two houses of parliament - as required by the Russian constitution is scheduled for 21 February this year. It was cancelled in 2022. Commentators speculate on what Putin will announce just before the anniversary of his "special military operation" in Ukraine on 24 February.

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Kirill Rogov (RU) /

Silence about the real issues

Commenting on Facebook, journalist Kirill Rogov doesn't expect the speech to reveal much:

“None of it will have anything to do with the real agenda, which looks something like this: How many Russian soldiers have already died in this war? How many mobilised troops die on average so that the Russian army can advance one kilometre? How bad a state is the Russian economy in? How did Russia come to be run by a council of inept, half-crazy old men? How many more people will be locked up in order to prove that all this madness is necessary and justified?”

Echo (RU) /

What if he starts saying he wants peace?

Political scientist Abbas Galliamov sees the possibility of a surprising turn of events in a Telegram post published by Echo:

“Putin could declare the goals of the 'special military operation' achieved in his message. In that case, he will propose a ceasefire. The Ukrainians, of course, would not agree, and the fighting will continue. But in this new situation, the absence of advances would not be as traumatic for the Russian 'patriots' as it is now. And there would be a chance that in six months' time a section of the domestic public - the one that has not seen the Ukrainians as guilty so far - forgets how it all started and blames the neighbours for the ongoing carnage. For the time being, after all, they are the ones refusing to stop.”