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President Vladimir Putin gave his annual state of the nation address in the Russian parliament. Lithuanian political analyst Kęstutis Girnius summarizes Putin's main message thus: sanctions are Western countries' fault, not his.
Vladimiro Putino pranešimas šalies parlamento žemiesiems rūmams
Vladimiro Putino pranešimas šalies parlamento žemiesiems rūmams
© RIA/Scanpix

Speaking to both chambers in the Kremlin, President Putin condemned Western governments for seeking to raise a new iron curtain around Russia.

Western sanctions, in response to Russia's role in eastern Ukraine, and falling oil prices have hit hard the Russian economy, Putin said, warning the nation about a recession.

"If the Russian people are unhappy, they should blame the West. He [Putin] said clearly that what is happening in Ukraine is just an excuse [to punish Russia], that the policy of containment has been in place for a long time and now Western powers are just using an opportunity," Girnius told the Žinių Radijas radio in comment of Putin's Thursday speech.

According to Girnius, Putin's remarks should also send shivers down the spine of Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"Putin outlines the goals: increasing production, raising work productivity by 5 percent, reining in inflation - and poor Medvedev is the one who will have to deliver all that. If he doesn't, he will be deemed responsible.

"In a way, Putin is washing his hands off - he sets out the goals while someone else has to deliver, even though these goals are impossible," according to Girnius, who said that Putin's spoke like a tsar.

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