This article is by a colleague of mine: Dr. Paul Gregory // The Hill
Vladimir Putin served up his election platform for his perfunctory March 18 re-election in his annual address to the two houses of Russia’s parliament on Thursday. Putin addressed two audiences — the Russian people and his external enemies, namely the U.S. and NATO.
Putin promised his domestic audience that, with him in the Kremlin, they can enjoy both guns and butter. He will maintain a strong military that can withstand any threat from the West, which Putin’s propaganda has convinced the Russian people is real.
Some three-quarters of Russians consider the U.S. a threat, and almost 60 percent fear NATO. True, military spending is up, but, with Putin’s wise leadership, living standards will rise, inflation will be dampened and poverty rates will fall.
Russia voters should be thankful to their president (according to him) for restoring Russia to its rightful status as a superpower, even though it meant a cost in terms of living standards…