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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Putin keeps press guessing
Russian press graphic

President Vladimir Putin's wide-ranging state of the nation address to parliament has drawn an equally diverse spread of comment in Tuesday's Russian press.

Some analysts believe that in the short term Mr Putin has ensured he does not promise anything he cannot deliver.

Others speculate on Mr Putin's vision for Russia following the next presidential election, scheduled for 2008.

[The message] turned out to be almost revolutionary. The president effectively announced his defection to the opposition - both the right-wing and the left-wing opposition at the same time. Although members of the liberal opposition could not support the economic theses of the message, many of the head of state's political principles and conclusions reflect the long-held aspirations of left and left-of-centre politicians.

Nikolai Bardul and Dmitri Kamyshev in Kommersant

There is no point in talking about Vladimir Putin's "political testament". He's not going anywhere, his support base is large, and few people doubt that an effective mechanism of succession will be devised. But the theory of "gradual liberalisation" which features in the address is perfectly well suited to the role of "roadmap" for the head of state's successor.

Editorial in Izvestia

When Putin launched into fierce criticism of bureaucrats, describing bureaucracy as just about the biggest obstacle to development of the democratic process, we thought he might touch on a chronic Russian political problem - the separation of power and assets. But this did not happen. The president also kept quiet about the subject which was, undoubtedly, of most interest to absolutely all those gathered in the Kremlin, about how the transfer of power is to take place in 2008. Or are we to take this silence to mean that, in accordance with the main theme of his message, everything will be democratic and within the law?

Sergei Chugayev in Komsomolskaya Pravda

Putin's speech, as usual, was interrupted by applause. But yesterday's applause was somewhat lacking in confidence. The country's governing elite was evidently unprepared for a keynote address in which the head of state rebuked the authorities themselves.

Andrei Denisov in Vremya Novostei

The declarations and promises made in the address must be and can be implemented. The wave of multicoloured revolutions which has rolled through the CIS has shown the Russian authorities that a trivial turning of the screws will not guarantee results. Putting the speech's main theories into practice may rescue us from the shock.

Editorial in Vedomosti

This time round the president refrained from making sensational statements, issuing specific instructions or offering alluring prospects. So next year, the nation cannot reproach the head of state for making impossible promises.

Aleksandra Samarina in Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Some passages in the presidential speech sounded downright ambiguous. "People do not have the right to demand from others that human rights are observed if they themselves do not respect and observe, or cannot guarantee, human rights!" VVP [Putin] said, for example, hinting at the Baltic countries and the West as a whole. But this reproach could also be addressed at Russia! After all, we are, at the very least, incapable of guaranteeing observance of human rights in Chechnya, and in other regions of the country as well.

Mikhail Rostovsky in Moskovsky Komsomolets

The thrust of the presidential message was simple. The present Russian state must precisely meet the requirements of the bourgeois economy. At all levels of government and society nobody must forget that capital is the driving force in the state.

Ivan Serov in Pravda

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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