Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 14 February 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russia Celebrates Invasion with Rally and Federal Assembly Address
The Russian propaganda machine is exploiting one year exactly since Russia recognized two breakaway republics in Donbas and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine to unify Russian people around the leader. There will be an effort to mobilize people in Russia with Putin’s Federal Assembly speech and a concert in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. Chances are that Russian forces will advance some gains in Ukraine such as the seizing of Bakhmut, which could be further exploited in Putin’s speeches.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver his state of the nation address on February 21, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. Putin’s speech will mostly concentrate on what he referred to as current affairs, including Russia’s economy and society. The date marks exactly one year since Russia recognized the two breakaway Ukrainian states of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states—a key precursor to Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. While the Russian Constitution requires the president to address the Federal Assembly at least once a year, Putin did not deliver any speech in 2022. The Kremlin does not have any problem with that, saying Putin missed an address in 2017, too. Vladimir Putin will give his belated annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly on or around February 21, and will participate in a large-scale concert and rally event at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium the following day. The last time he delivered any speech was at the same stadium in Moscow on March 18, 2022, three weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in an event marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The February 22 rally is expected to be a “continuation” of Putin’s address. Some 200,000 people are slated to attend, some of whom are offered 500 roubles ($7). Some universities ask students to arrive and take their friends to boost attendance.
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