Putin Speech Unveils Massive Spending Plan For Russia
MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insisted Wednesday that Russia must be strong to fend off foreign threats and lauded a long list of his own achievements, a show of muscle seen as a signal that the powerful leader intends to reclaim the country’s presidency next year.
Putin laid out an ambitious program of weapons modernization in an annual address to parliament that sounded much like a campaign speech, promising to spend the equivalent of $700 billion by 2020. The speech’s broad scope – ranging from long-term economic goals to national security and defense – underlined Putin’s role as the nation’s No. 1 leader, though his successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, technically has far broader powers.