In an address that was broadcast soon after the Central Election Commission announced the official results of the March 18 presidential poll, Vladimir Putin said that over 76 percent of voters had backed him for a new term, which was the largest-ever support for a presidential candidate in modern Russian history.
Putin recalled his previous addresses to voters, which he had made immediately after elections. He said they had been right and timely but added that, given such a tremendous level of support, he considered his previous expressions of gratitude insufficient.
“I feel the need to address you directly, address all those who voted for me across the country, address all Russian people. I think that this high level of engagement, your responsible position, such consolidation – these things are extremely important, especially given our current circumstances, as we face serious challenges, both domestically and internationally,” Putin said.
The president stated that he was aware of the numerous problems that Russian society and its individual members had to face, and said citizens’ complaints were “absolutely justified.” However, he said that he saw his high result at the polls as an appreciation of some achievements recorded over the past years.
Putin said that he felt tremendous personal responsibility for promises made in the course of his latest election campaign, but noted that it would be irresponsible of him to pledge that citizens would immediately feel the changes for the better. He noted that Russia and its people needed some deep and irreversible changes that would steadily produce positive results in the present and in the future.
He promised to boost the economy, reduce the unemployment rate, and increase the average personal income, as well as developing national infrastructure, healthcare and education on the basis of a “powerful technological breakthrough.”
The president emphasized that all decisions would be made in the interests of the nation. “I’d like to underline that our development agenda is nationwide in scale, with consolidation at its core. It should unite all of us,” he said.
He also addressed the Russian opposition, saying that he understood the logic of political competition and the need for debates and discussions. At the same time, he asked all Russian politicians and activists to abstain from “irresponsible populism,” and asked them to understand that the fate of Russia was a common concern for all of its people. “I’m absolutely certain that working together we will achieve great success,” the president stated.