RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT RESIGNS – Medvedev to be deputy head of Russian Security Council

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RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly yesterday.

According to Putin, the birth rate in the 1990s in Russia was worse than that in the Second World War times.

Putin said that Russia has been able for the first time in history to become the world’s leader in advanced weapons.

‘We are not threatening anyone and are not seeking to impose our will. At the same time, I can assure everyone that our steps for strengthening national security were made timely and in a sufficient volume,’ the Russian president said.

Putin suggested putting a package of constitutional amendments to a popular vote. At the same time, the Russian president stated that he sees no grounds to adopt a new constitution in Russia.

Putin said: ‘It is time to make some changes to the fundamental law of the country, which would guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal space. What does this mean? It means that requirements of international law and decisions of international bodies can only be enforced in Russia to such an extent that does not violate human and civil rights and freedoms and does not violate our Constitution.’

He added: ‘I know that our society is discussing the constitutional provision the same person should not take the post of Russia’s president for more than two terms in a row. I do not believe that this question is of fundamental importance, but I agree with this.’

Putin has also suggested complementing Russia’s Constitution with a special requirement the candidate for the position of the head of state should be a resident of Russia for no less than 25 years and have no foreign citizenship or residence permit – not only at the moment of participation in the election, but ever in the past.’

After Putin’s statement, the Russian government resigned, with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev making the announcement.

Putin noted that soon he planned to meet with all ministers of Medvedev’s government. ‘I will meet with each of you,’ Putin assured.

‘The prime minister thinks it right that the current government should step down in the wake of the presidential proposals to amend the constitution,’ Medvedev told President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the cabinet.

‘After those amendments are adopted – and it was said that this is likely to be done following discussion – there will be significant changes not only to a variety of constitution articles, but to the balance of power, namely to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power,’ the prime minister said.

‘In this context, it is evident that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should provide our country’s president with an opportunity to take all the necessary decisions in these conditions. I believe it right for the government of the Russian Federation to step down in conformity with Article 117 of Russia’s Constitution,’ Medvedev added.

Putin has announced his intention to establish a new office of deputy head of the Russian Security Council and appoint Dmitry Medvedev to this post, he said at a meeting with cabinet ministers.

‘I believe that it is possible and I will do this in the future, I will introduce the post of the Security Council’s deputy chair. As it is known, the President is the chairperson of the Security Council,’ Putin said.

‘Dmitry Medvedev has always been dealing with these issues. From the standpoint of enhancing our defence capability and security, I believe that it is possible and asked him to handle issues of this kind in the future.’