The Kremlin on Friday confirmed a report that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will give his long-delayed 2022 annual address to the Federal Assembly on February 21, 2023, a date chosen to coincide with the anniversary of his attack on Ukraine.
The address is reportedly to be followed up with a “large-scale concert and rally event at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium” the next day.
Russian media quoted sources in the Kremlin and Federal Assembly who said the rally, billed as a “continuation” of nationalist themes Putin will strike in the address, will have an estimated 200,000 attendees.
Putin is required under the Russian constitution to address the Federal Assembly once per year, but he has not done so since April 2021.
“On February 21, the President of the Russian Federation will address the Federal Assembly,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Friday.
February 21 is the anniversary of the day Putin unilaterally created two “independent republics” on Ukrainian soil called Donetsk and Luhansk. These ersatz republics are not recognized by any other world government. Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine three days later, on February 24, 2022.
Russian forces apparently launched a new offensive in Ukraine on Thursday, beginning with swarms of missiles and drones launched at Ukrainian cities.
Western analysts said Russia is committing more of its reserves and stepping up conscription as it begins to make marginal progress on several long-stalled fronts near the Luhansk and Donetsk borders. Putin presumably expects this offensive to be going fairly well when he holds his parliamentary address and concert rally in less than two weeks.