President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends,
Today the Central Election Commission announced the final results of the Russian presidential election.
Over 67 percent of voters, which is over 73 million citizens, took part in the voting. Over 56 million of them, which is over 76 percent, voted for the current Head of State. It sets a record in the history of our country.
On March 18, right after the preliminary results were announced, I addressed a rally on Manezhnaya Square and spoke at my election campaign headquarters. I thanked my supporters, everyone who voted, it was both necessary and timely that night.
However, given the large-scale and unprecedented support you gave me, I believe that the words of gratitude I said in the centre of Moscow are not enough. I feel the need to address you directly, all those who supported me across Russia, all citizens of Russia.
I believe that such spectacular civic engagement and your commitment as well as consolidation are crucially important. Especially today, when we are facing complex domestic and foreign challenges.
I know only too well about your problems. You, Russian citizens, are right to speak about low incomes, faults with the healthcare system, housing, utilities and other things as well.
The trust you put in me signifies for me primarily your hope for a change for the better. I expect that your praise is related to the work that has been done and those positive results that we have achieved over the past years.
But it is not enough, of course. We need to make a real breakthrough. Your active participation in the election and your support show that we are ready to carry out such work, as well as to strive towards achieving such change.
I am well aware of my enormous responsibility before the citizens of Russia, before this entire country. Everything I spoke about in the course of the election campaign must be done.
Of course, I would like the matters that citizens raised to be addressed as soon as possible – we will strive to do this. But promising to solve all these things immediately, right away, to make the necessary changes simply overnight, would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do.
This would be nothing but a grand gesture, like showing off something designed only to have an immediate, short-term effect. What we really need is consistent, profound change, planned steps that will result in a stable positive outcome not only today but in the future as well.
We will be creating new jobs and increasing the effectiveness of our economy, increasing the real income of our citizens, reducing poverty, developing infrastructure and the social sphere – education and healthcare, addressing environmental and housing problems, and we will continue to renovate and revamp small cities and villages. All of this should be based on a powerful technological breakthrough, which is yet to be made.
I spoke about all these matters in the Address to the Federal Assembly. It is, essentially, a clear, concrete, detailed plan of our common action. I am sure that it is realistic, right and valid.
At the same time, I would like to emphasise that all the forthcoming decisions, even the most difficult ones, will be motivated by one thing only, the need to eliminate the backlogs that still exist in various spheres, to ensure the country’s dynamic development and a brand new quality of life for the people, as well as to address the historical challenges that we face today.
And the most important thing – in the end, all these decisions will be taken exclusively for the benefit of our country, our citizens, our children and future generations.
We will act openly and discuss all our major decisions with the public, we will also explain why we are acting in this or that way and we will explain which goals we want to achieve. Let me stress that our development agenda is meant to be consolidating and to unite the entire nation.
I would like to address all public and political forces in the country. I understand that the logic of political competition is in criticising those in power, from the left, from the right, always.
Yes, criticism, debates and discussions are necessary and important but they must be free from irresponsible populism. The national interests and the wellbeing of the people must be the main guideline for everybody, especially today. It is the ground for our consolidation and collaborative work.
I want to address those citizens who voted for other candidates. I respect your choice and opinion. Political preferences must not divide us. We are all patriots of our country and we have one common concern, that of Russia’s future and prosperity.
Our unity, responsibility, common understanding of goals and aspirations of millions of people must be turned into Russia’s development and powerful progress.
Thank you all once again for your support and trust. I am certain that together we will succeed.