MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to win a six-year presidential term in an election on Sunday.
Below are some of his policy priorities.
- Putin opposes foreign intervention in the Middle East following the Arab Spring and has warned against Western or Arab-backed intervention in Syria without the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. He opposes sanctions against Syria.
- He opposes any military strike on Iran over its nuclear programme, saying it would destabilise the region.
- Putin acknowledges the benefits of a good relationship with the United States but has accused Washington of meddling in Russia’s internal affairs, whipping up anti-American hysteria.
- Having accused NATO of failing to accomplish its mission in Afghanistan, Putin has warned against instability in Central Asia and made it clear he wants the United States to leave a region which Russia sees as part of its sphere of influence.
- Putin wants Russia’s $1.9 billion (1.2 billion pounds) economy to return to pre-crisis growth of 6 or 7 percent a year and to become the world’s fifth largest economy by the end of the decade. It is now the 11th biggest.
- Putin wants to boost foreign investment to 25 percent of GDP from the current level of 20 percent.
- He has urged Russia to find ways to cut its dependence on natural resources such as oil and gas.
- Putin wants to implement a second round of privatisations to reduce the government’s stake in resource companies, and completely cut some stakes in non-resource companies that are not tied to natural monopolies and the defence industry.
- He says corruption is a major problem despite efforts by outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev to tackle the problem.
- At a meeting with the country’s most powerful and influential industrial lobby, he floated the idea of an “oligarch tax” which would help lay to rest the ghosts of the rigged state asset sales of the 1990s.
- The 59-year-old leader has complained that a protest movement that has arisen among the country’s urban middle class lacks a leader with whom he can negotiate.
- While he has accused the protesters of “sowing the seeds of chaos,” he has struck an increasingly conciliatory tone saying that civil society has grown “more mature, active and responsible.”
- He has evoked the chaos of the 1990s to justify his opposition to rapid change.
- He has floated a reform that would force parliament to discuss any measure that was backed by 100,000 people in Internet petitions.
- Putin has made broad promises to boost spending to improve healthcare and infrastructure and to boost the pay of teachers, medical workers and researchers. Spending measures are expected to cost about $30 billion.
- He has said he wants higher consumption taxes and that there is room to increase duty on property, luxury goods, alcohol and tobacco.
- His intention to alter the way strategic sectors such as oil, gas and metals are taxed is unclear. Some investors want to see a more level tax structure as currently, oil is taxed at 80 percent, natural gas at 35 percent and metals at 25 percent.
- Putin has championed low inflation and a “stable” rouble exchange rate, though he has repeatedly spoken out against controls to stop capital outflows that could weaken the currency.
- At the heart of Putin’s military policies is a promise to spend around 23 trillion roubles (491.8 billion pounds) between now and 2020 to refurbish the country’s fighting forces.
- Military modernisation envisages a new arsenal of guns, tanks, submarines, ships and missile systems to replace rusting armaments.
- Putin has been behind a drive to make the armed forces a smaller and more mobile fighting force able to deal with local conflicts more effectively. During Soviet times, it was trained to fight large land wars.
- Putin has said diplomacy has no backbone without a strong military force, which is necessary in order “for Russia to feel safe and for its arguments to be received.”
- Putin has acknowledged the dangers of nationalism in Russia, but calls ethnic Russians “the glue” holding together numerous ethnic minorities across Russia.
- He has called for tighter migration rules including mandatory exams that would test migrants’ knowledge of Russian language and history.
Reporting by Thomas Grove, Editing by Douglas Busvine and Andrew Osborn