Consensus analysis (for November 21-26, 2022)
The Kremlin abandoned the president's annual message to the Federal Assembly in favor of "small" speeches.
The main reason can be considered unpopular decisions that the Kremlin was forced to make at the end of the year. One of these solutions is the increase of the Russian army to one and a half million people. This step is a direct confirmation of the inability of the Russian Federation to win the war against Ukraine with the current armed forces. Which, in turn, calls into question one of the central myths of modern Russia – the myth of a strong professional army capable of opposing the armies of NATO or even the entire bloc.
Even the potential possibility of a question about this inconsistency with Putin on live federal television led to the fact that instead of the mode of a large dialogue, the mode of several "small" speeches of the Russian president was chosen without the slightest risk of embarrassing questions. Such ersatz messages were the collegium of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and an interview with the TV channel Russia-1. An important aspect was the fact that the most unpopular decisions were announced not by Putin personally, but by Defense Minister Serhiy Shoigu. The head of the Kremlin, in turn, became the solution to the problems of the Russian army, promising the armed forces all necessary support, new drones, aviation and communications.
Another platform for Putin's "small" speeches was the informal summit of the leaders of the CIS countries. In addition to an opportunity to recall his role as commander-in-chief, who solves the army's problems, not creates them, the Russian president used the summit to demonstrate to the public his active international agenda and lack of isolation. The event itself is included in the canvas of maximum saturation of the end of 2022 with Putin's meetings at the highest level. At the same time, the fact that these are meetings with the same leaders of countries that are part of both the CSTO and the CIS is not important for the Kremlin.