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BREAKING: Russian Prime Minister Resigns as Constitutional Reforms Announced

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MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced the government is resigning. The statement comes after President Vladimir Putin’s address to the Parliament.

Vladimir Putin thanked members of the government for the joint work, “although not everything worked out.” The Russian leader also said that in the near future he will meet with each member of the Cabinet.

Below are other highlights from the Presidential Address:

On Russia’s demographic situation

Putin said he was dissatisfied with Russia’s birth rate. The Russian president noted that the total fertility rate stood at 1.5 in 2019. “This is not enough for our country,” he stressed.

According to Putin, Russia’s birth rate in the 1990s was worse than the fertility figures during the Second World War.

Putin said that low incomes of most households with children directly threatened Russia’s demographic future and proposed a number of measures to support families.

For instance, the Russian leader suggested providing monthly payments for children between the ages of three and seven years old starting from January 1, 2020. According to the president, families, whose income does not exceed one living wage per person, will receive these payments.

Moreover, the maternity capital program will be extended until the end of 2026 and the payment amount will grow to 616,617 rubles ($10,028).

On Russia’s weaponry

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, nor are we seeking to impose our will. At the same time, I can assure everyone that our steps for strengthening national security were timely made and in a sufficient volume,” the Russian president assured.

Today, Russia is the world’s leader in developing advanced weaponry, Putin stressed. “Other leading countries of the world will still have to develop weapons, which Russia already possesses,” the head of state emphasized.

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On the supremacy of the Russian Constitution

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

Putin also suggest stipulating the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over international norms in Russia.

“The time has come to make some changes to the nation’s fundamental law that would directly 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,” Putin emphasized.

On presidency

Putin agrees that the same person should not take the post of the head of state for more than two terms in row.

“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 said.

Putin has also suggested complementing Russia’s Constitution with a special requirement the candidate for the position of the head 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.

Under the current Constitution any Russian citizen who has lived in the country for no less than ten years can be elected as Russia’s president.

On 75th anniversary of Victory

Russia is obliged to protect the historical truth about the victory in the Great Patriotic War,  Putin said.

“This year we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. May 9 in Russia is the greatest and sacrosanct holiday. We are proud of the generation of victors, we remember their heroism. Our memory is not only a token of respect for the heroic past. It serves our future, inspires us and strengthens our unity. We are obliged to protect the truth about the Victory. Otherwise what shall we be able to tell our children if lies spread about the world like an epidemic?” he said.

Putin also said that a network of archive documents on the history of the Second World War accessible to the whole world will be created in Russia.

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