Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday made his clearest rejection yet of speculation that he would try to seek a third term, but gave no hint in his state of the nation address as to whom he sees as his preferred successor.
Putin's second -- and constitutionally mandated last -- term in office ends next year, and many observers have suggested he would try to amend the constitution to stay in office. Last month, the head of the upper house of parliament proposed making such a change. But Putin has consistently dismissed the idea, and his statement in the speech underlined the point clearly.
"The next state of the nation address will be given by another head of state," he said.
He then acknowledged that many had expected this speech would be his opportunity to openly state which person he wanted to follow him, but instead said "it is premature for me to declare a political will."
Russia enters a high-stakes political season this year with parliamentary elections in December, followed by presidential elections in March. Russian officials in recent months have complained that Western countries are trying to meddle in the political process by funding pro-democracy organizations, and Putin echoed those allegations.
"There is a growth in the flow of money from abroad for direct interference in our internal affairs," Putin said in his address, delivered to the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament.
"There are those who, skillfully using pseudo-democratic rhetoric, would like to return to the recent past -- some to loot the country's national riches, to rob the people and the state; others to strip us of economic and political independence," Putin said.
Putin did not cite specific countries as sources of the funding but the Russian Foreign Ministry this month complained about US funding of democracy-promoting organizations in Russia.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists