Russia’s next president is Vladimir Putin

Esteemed Russians, today I signed a decree on elections to the State Duma. They will be held on 19 December exactly on time, as envisaged by the constitution and the law. The election marathon has been effectively launched.

«This will be a very complicated and responsible period. This is why I ask you to be especially attentive and even partial in your assessment of the behaviour of the participants in the political race.

An honest fight

«I promised that the Duma elections would be held in an honest fight. I am convinced that you will elect deserving and decent people.

«However, one should not forget that, in one year’s time, in exactly one year’s time, there will be presidential elections. I have decided to now name the person who is, in my opinion, able to consolidate society and, drawing support from broadest political forces, to ensure the continuation of reforms in Russia.

«He will be able to unite around himself those who are to renew Great Russia in the new 21st Century. He is the secretary of the security council and director of the FSB [Federal Security Service] of Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

Human and business-like qualities

«Today I decided on the dismissal of the government of Sergey Vadimovich Stepashin. In accordance with the constitution, I requested the State Duma to confirm Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in the post of chairman of the Russian Government.

«I am sure that, as he works in that senior position, he will bring great benefit to the country, and the people of Russia will be able to evaluate Putin’s human and business-like qualities. I have confidence in him.

«But I want everyone who will come to the polling stations in July 2000 and make their choice to have confidence in him. I think that he has sufficient time to prove himself.

«I know Vladimir Vladimirovich well. I have watched him, long and attentively, since the time when he worked as first deputy mayor of St Petersburg.

«In recent years, he and I have worked side by side. In all posts, he acted confidently and firmly and achieved good results.

«Putin has vast experience of state work. To head the government is a heavy burden and serious test. He will succeed of that I am sure, and the Russians will give him support.

Entering a new political stage

«I thank Sergey Vadimovich Stepashin for good work. He managed to create a strong team and preserve the stable political and economic situation in the country. I am confident that Sergey Vadimovich will support his successor and his friend.

«Russia is entering a new political stage. In one year, for the first time in the history of the country, the first president of Russia will hand over power to a new, newly-elected president.

«In any case, it will be your president, esteemed Russians, who will win a clean and fair election.

«Thank you for your attention.»