Medvedev gives update on state of Russia

Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:31 AM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev touched on foreign and domestic policy Tuesday in his third state of the nation address to Russian lawmakers.

In his 75-minute speech before a joint meeting of the two houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia and other leaders, Medvedev said agreement on a European missile defense system will either be reached within the next decade or Russia will have to deploy new strike forces, RIA Novosti reported.

"We are facing the following alternative in the next 10 years: Either we reach an agreement on missile defense and create a fully fledged joint mechanism of cooperation, or if we fail to do so, a new round of arms race will start, and we will have to adopt decisions on the deployment of new strategic weapons," Medvedev said.

Addressing the environment during his annual message, Medvedev instructed regional governors to submit a yearly report on the environmental situation in their areas, explaining that tackling environmental issues should be one measurement used when assessing the efficiency of regional governors.

Medvedev also called on Russian officials at all levels of government to shed non-work-related property and be prepared to be penalized if they aren't performing their official duties in a timely manner.

Russia should work to reduce its annual inflation rate to 4 percent or 5 percent during the next three years, Medvedev said.

On child-related matters, Medvedev said there should be no orphans in Russia because the primary reason for orphanages is to help families adopt. He also said the care of children should be a key state task and child ombudsmen should be in place in all Russian regions, RIA Novosti said.

"In our country, unfortunately, there are still 130,000 children, who remain without a family; they have neither parents nor guardians. They are denied the most important thing: family warmth," he said. "Guardianship must be directly focused on child placement in families and helping foster families. There should be no un-adopted children in our country."

Medvedev said convicted child abusers will be banned from working in the education sector. He also said a law on "the criminal responsibility" for selling alcohol to minors would be adopted soon.

He said Russian families would be given a plot of land for housing construction after the birth of a third child.

"I am directing the government, in conjunction with the regional authorities, to develop a procedure for granting land plots for building a house or dacha after the birth of a third child," he said .

Medvedev said at least 50 percent of the saved budget funds, as well as additional income to the federal budget, should be applied to modernization projects.

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