Putin to Give Annual News Conference in Russia on Thursday
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will maintain his year-end information convention on Thursday, resuming an annual custom at a crucial second for the warfare his forces are waging in Ukraine.
The December information convention has historically been a wide-ranging marathon that gives reporters a uncommon — albeit stage-managed — probability to pose probably difficult questions. Mr. Putin finds himself in significantly better form than a yr earlier, when he skipped the annual ritual amid setbacks in Ukraine.
Right here’s a have a look at the subjects Mr. Putin is predicted to handle.
Mr. Putin is nearing the third yr of his invasion of Ukraine ready of relative energy. Bolstered by dense defenses, Russian forces have fended off Ukraine’s counteroffensive this yr and are actually attacking in a number of areas alongside the entrance line. Russia’s navy manufacturing is ramping up, and the military — regardless of very excessive casualties — has been capable of regain its footing with out resorting, to this point, to a brand new wave of mobilization.
Extra broadly, the impasse over navy help for Ukraine within the U.S. Congress is making Mr. Putin’s long-term wager that his nation will outlast adversaries seem extra reasonable. Most unbiased navy analysts imagine that with out extra American provides, Russia might begin to make bigger positive aspects subsequent yr.
Mr. Putin has made the resilience of his nation’s wartime economic system a significant speaking level in latest public speeches. Regardless of a flurry of worldwide sanctions, the Russian economic system has regained its prewar measurement and is predicted to develop by about three % this yr, as a big enhance in navy spending stimulates manufacturing, whereas labor shortages power wages to rise.
However document state spending has come at a value: Inflation has climbed sharply for the reason that spring, excessive rates of interest are stifling non-public funding, corporations are struggling to seek out employees and the economic system is turning into extra depending on unstable oil revenues. However for now, Mr. Putin appears comfortable to tout sturdy headline figures, which help his broad narrative that the worst financial results of the warfare are over.
The information convention is probably going to supply Mr. Putin with many foils for considered one of his favourite themes: presenting his overseas adversaries as hypocritical and decadent. .
Mr. Putin might also look to take advantage of the West’s social divisions, presenting himself as a champion of socially conservative causes that resonate with many voters all over the world.
Mr. Putin has largely succeeded in resigning the Russian public to the warfare and to a protracted standoff with the West. Organized resistance to the warfare is waning amid escalating repression, and Mr. Putin has just lately cracked down on the ultranationalist minority that had criticized his warfare technique.
Whether or not Mr. Putin can maintain public apathy into subsequent yr is unsure. Even when American help to Ukraine wanes, most analysts imagine Mr. Putin’s forces are unlikely to realize a decisive breakthrough with out one other wave of mobilization, which might be deeply unpopular.
With Russia’s political system beneath his agency management, Mr. Putin is extensively anticipated to win another six-year term as president within the election in March. Within the absence of a real competitors amongst candidates, the vote will probably flip right into a referendum about Mr. Putin’s resolution to invade Ukraine, and he’ll most likely use the end result so as to add a veneer of legitimacy to the warfare and to trumpet Russians’ approval of his actions.
If he had been re-elected and served out one other time period, by 2030 Mr. Putin would develop into the longest-serving Russian chief for the reason that Empress Catherine the Nice within the 18th century, surpassing all of the Soviet rulers, together with Stalin.
Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.