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Analysts Point to Pre-election Nature of Presidential Address

Dmitri MedvedevMOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) - The president's state of the nation address, dominated by the issues of child protection and social modernization, is effectively his main pre-election manifesto for 2012, regardless of who exactly will be running for the country's top job, Russian political analysts believe.

"This is a presidential election manifesto regardless of the personality. It is hard to imagine which other alternative manifesto could be proposed by the president, at any rate by someone who is positioning himself as the leader of the ruling class. In that sense, Medvedev is already occupying this field. But Putin is there, too," President of the Foundation for Effective Politics Gleb Pavlovsky told Interfax on Tuesday.

The address focuses on the social topic, support for children and young people, and these issues are political and are already associated with elections, he said. "Who is thinking of children and young people? The middle-aged and older people, and not young people themselves. Thus, the address is somehow aimed at voting citizens," Pavlovsky said.

Social renewal is described as politically significant, the expert said. "In this sense, Medvedev touches upon the central issue of the future election, in which the ruling class in some sense should reconcile with the country, regain confidence between itself and population masses instead of hiding, as previously, behind the popular president. In this address Medvedev is acting as the leader of the ruling class, hence quite a positive, albeit harsh, tone," Pavlovsky said.

The content of the speech is mainly oriented at the elections, said Yevgeny Minchenko, Director at the International Institute of Political Studies.

"In my view, the leitmotif - modernization as a tool of raising living standards - is quite good. The core subject of childhood support also looks like it can gain votes. But its target audience is not just parents, but pensioners, who are normally sensitive towards this problem," Minchenko wrote on his blog.

"There is no doubt about the pre-election nature of Dmitry Medvedev's address. This follows from the breadth of the subjects covered, and the constant emphasizing of the president's leading role throughout the text, and the emotional final. The priorities are social stability and modernization aimed at improving living standards and increasing Russia's role on the international arena," the analyst said.

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