Medvedev to Focus on War, Economy

ReutersFrom left, Dvorkovich, Surkov, Naryshkin, Medvedev and Pollyeva working on Medvedev's speech on Sunday.
The war with Georgia and the global economic crisis will be the main topics in Wednesday's state-of- the-nation address, President Dmitry Medvedev said in a new video blog posted on the Kremlin web site.

Dressed informally in a jacket with no tie, Medvedev said much of this year's address, his first, would focus on the international consequences of the war in August.

"This document will include answers to a series of significant questions that stand before our country," he said in the clip posted Sunday on the blog, which he introduced early last month.

"I mean, of course, the situation with which the Russian Federation was confronted in August. That challenge that our society had to face — I mean the Caucasus crisis," he said, seated behind a notebook, apparently in his Kremlin office. "We cannot ignore the consequences, consequences not only for our country, but for the whole global order."

Moscow responded to Tbilisi's attempt to regain control of the pro-Russian separatist region of South Ossetia by force with a powerful counterstrike, driving the Georgian army out of the region.

Moscow then recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgian breakaway region.

Medvedev said his speech would also focus on the global economic crisis. While hinting that Russia has been affected by the crisis, he repeated earlier comments focusing on the United States' responsibility for the problems.

"The international financial crisis is another difficult challenge the entire planet is facing today," Medvedev said. "The crisis started in one of the biggest countries, the United States of America, and has unfortunately spread over the whole planet, and every country has to search for answers to it."

Assurances from Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that Russia's economy was not under threat from the global crisis have come as markets have lost 60 percent of their value and the ruble has shed 10 percent of its value over the last two months. Government officials have maintained that there will be no ruble devaluation, and both Medvedev and Putin, in an apparent move to reassure the public, said last week that they would keep their own private savings in rubles.

Medvedev said he would not discuss Russian proposals to be presented at a Nov. 15 summit in Washington to address the global economic crisis.

"They are being worked out, but we will, of course, come with our initiatives," he said.

The summit will bring together the Group of Eight countries, the European Union, Brazil, China, India and a number of major economies in an expanded grouping called the G20.

The message section of Medvedev's video blog was followed by a video segment showing him discussing the address with Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin, first deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov and presidential advisers Sergei Prikhodko, Arkady Dvorkovich and Dzhakhan Pollyeva.