- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Russia’s state-run media released a dramatic video clip of President Vladimir Putin shown against a backdrop of tanks, flying flags and propaganda-type images as a hard-charging leader who ultimately declares, in a sound bite worthy of Hollywood lore: “The bear never asks permission,” CNN reported.

The promotion comes in the lead up to Mr. Putin’s annual news conference — and amid a plunging national economy.

Mr. Putin is widely expected to address the financial situation in his annual speech, including the nation’s crumbling oil prices and devalued ruble. Moscow has been trying to prevent an economic catastrophe in the face of cooled relations with the West over Mr. Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Russian banks and companies have been shut out of business with Western nations because of sanctions, and are struggling to pay debts, CNN reported.

Yet the promo of Mr. Putin’s speech hardly mentions the financial realities facing the nation. Rather, the promotion flashes scenes of war and triumph at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as the narrator speaks of “a year of tough decisions” and “long-awaited victors,” CNN said.

“How it turned out for Russia and its president, he will tell himself,” the voice said.

And then Mr. Putin weighs in: “Russia has never changed its orientation.”

At another point in the video, Mr. Putin dramatically declares of his nation and leadership: “The bear never asks permission.”

Mr. Putin’s approval ratings from within remain in the high 80s.

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