Why is India silent about the Aleppo murders

State of the Union Address - Putin remains silent on Aleppo bloodbath

He talked about road construction, environmental protection, the school system, inflation. But not a word about Aleppo.

Not a word on the accusations of the international community that Russia is enabling Syria's ruler Assad to carry out an unprecedented bloodbath of civilians. Not a word about the fact that the last inhibitions are falling in the Syrian civil war, that the streets in the eastern part of Aleppo are full of corpses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (64) gave his annual “speech to the nation” in front of around 1,000 officials and dignitaries in the Kremlin. In contrast to the previous year, he said only a few sentences on foreign policy. While everyone was waiting for a concrete proposal on how things can go on in global politics after Donald Trump's victory in the US election, Putin praised China and India as important trading partners.

Nevertheless: Putin indicated an interest in reducing the massive tensions with the West: "We do not want a confrontation, we are not looking for enemies (...) We need friends, but we do not tolerate any disregard for our national interests," he said.

Most of the speech on domestic politics

In the domestic political part of his 69-minute speech, the Kremlin chief admitted that Russia is currently struggling with “problems and difficulties”. But the citizens “united” for patriotic values.

His party “United Russia” has won the majority in the Duma, now it will keep its promises. It is a good thing that there are no more “disputes just for the sake of arguing” in parliament.

Russia has long phases of lack and struggle from its history, Putin said. "Today we all have to stick together as a people, regardless of which side our ancestors were on," said Putin, referring to the October Revolution, which will mark the centenary in 2017. Russian society should not allow itself to be “divided by bitterness”.

Putin wants to fight doping better

Putin pretended to be Carer of everything, announced investments in the health system: "A few billions will be taken into hand" for the air rescue system. He also wants to renovate the schools, many of which are ailing. He wants to promote environmental protection, as well as road construction, first and foremost by building a bridge to the Crimea.

In addition, Russia will introduce an improved anti-doping system in sport - without "being advised without being asked". Russian athletes had become the target of international persecution at the Olympics, he criticized.

The economy is back on a growth path - after a difficult 2015 with a 3.7 percent decline in gross domestic product. There are double-digit growth rates in the arms industry. At the same time, the central bank's gold and currency reserves have grown. Inflation is said to fall to “below 6 percent” in relation to 2016, compared to almost 13 percent in the previous year.

Putin only responded indirectly to the nebulous dismissal of his economics minister Alexej Ulyukayev (under house arrest on charges of corruption) by promising steps in the fight against corruption.

What's next in Syria?

Foreign policy was to dominate the second part of his speech, but Putin left it with a few general statements.

He emphasized the importance of strategic cooperation with China - at the economic level. He also praised the “great potential” of trade relations with India. They are also interested in improved relations with the USA and ready to work with the new US administration. Both countries have a shared responsibility for global security.

"It is important that we normalize our relations and start developing our bilateral relationship on an equal footing," Putin said verbatim.

The Kremlin chief thanked the army, said Russia had achieved success in the "fight against terrorism".

On the other hand, not a word about international criticism that Russia made Syria's dictator Assad possible the barbaric attacks on civilians in the last rebel quarters in East Aleppo. Putin's air force is said to have participated in the targeted bombing of hospitals and schools. In Paris and London there was talk of "war crimes", which the Kremlin indignantly rejected.

Putin did not talk about bombed classrooms, dead children, barrel bombs and chlorine gas attacks. He spoke about "brave soldiers" who "defend Russia's honor" and fight terrorism.

Problem: From the Kremlin's point of view, all terrorists fighting against Russia's ally Assad - including the US-backed rebel groups. The key question is whether Obama’s successor Donald Trump will end this support. In order then, as is speculated, to act together with Russia against the ISIS terrorist militia in their stronghold of Raqqa.

In this case, Assad, the butcher of Damascus, could hope to stay in power.

Background: Putin and Trump began to flatter one another a year ago (“talented”, “strong state leader”). With the help of targeted propaganda, Moscow is said to have interfered directly in the US election campaign. The Kremlin rejected allegations by the Obama administration that Russia was also behind hacker attacks.

Putin failed to mention the battered relationship with NATO and the current tensions with Poland because of the Russian rearmament in Kaliningrad, as did the military maneuver in Ukraine, which Russia had massively criticized in advance.

In positive terms: He didn't add any more fuel to the fire ...

What was left of Putin's speech last year?

In December 2015, the dispute between Russia and NATO member Turkey over the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet shaped the speech.

At the time, Putin described the Turkish people as “good-natured, hard-working and talented”, in contrast to the regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which had “made Allah mad”. Putin threatened Erdogan: "We will never forget this complicity with terrorists."

In August 2016, the autocrats officially settled the dispute at their meeting in Saint Petersburg after Erdogan backed down and called Putin “my dear friend”.

At the same time, the project of a pipeline to bring Russian gas through the Black Sea to Turkey was revived.

New dispute between Putin and Erdogan

But one day before Putin's speech, the alliance of convenience began to falter again: Moscow was indignant after Erdogan's statements about the “tyrant” Bashar al-Assad.

Erdogan had emphasized that the Turkish army wanted to "end the rule of the tyrant Assad." The Syrian president was spreading "state terror" in his country.

Putin verbally shot his spokesman back in the direction of Ankara yesterday. He himself didn't mention the new quarrel today with a single syllable.

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