Russia’s history should guide its future, Putin says
MOSCOW — In his first major speech since returning to the presidency, Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday called on Russians “not to lose ourselves as a nation,” urging them to look for guidance in Russia’s historic and traditional values — and not in Western political models — as it charts its post-Soviet development.
Mr. Putin also sent tough messages to officials in his government, warning that their spending will now be monitored and that the prosecutor’s office had been empowered to seize illegally acquired assets. He recommended barring officials and other political figures from holding stocks and bank accounts outside Russia and said the government would begin to closely scrutinize officials’ foreign real estate holdings.
“How can we trust an official who speaks loudly about the good of Russia, but tries to bring his funds, his money, overseas?” he said. When the officials in his audience began to clap, he gave a little smile. “Don’t hurry to applaud,” he said. “You may not all like this.”...
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