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Putin's speech to the Federation Assembly signals Kremlin's fear of population's discontent and indicates rising nuclear risks and diminishing arms control co-operation

Key points

  • Event: President Vladimir Putin announced Russia's suspension of participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), accused Western countries of starting and sustaining the war in Ukraine, and outlined the prospects of socioeconomic development
  • Significance: Suspension of the treaty is considered ‘reversible' by Russia. Russian consideration of French, British, and US nuclear arsenals in context of New START fundamentally broadens Russia's perspective of the treaty.
  • Outlook: There is a roughly even chance Russia will completely disengage from New START in the next three months. There is also a roughly even chance Russia will not resume full co-operation on New START with the US until the end of the Ukrainian conflict. Despite the decision to keep nuclear weapons-testing infrastructure ready, Russia is unlikely to perform nuclear tests and violate the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the next three months


On 21 February 2023, President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech to the Federal Assembly – an annual event determined by Russia's constitution. In Russia's political ecosystem, the speech intends to reassure the elite and the population that Russia's political, economic, and social course is positive and in line with expectations. It also intends to present an outlook for the next year.

In his two-hour speech, Putin announced the Russian Federation's suspension of its participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), accused the West for starting the war in Ukraine, highlighted Russian economic successes, and promised significant social and financial support to the population.


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