On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin will deliver an annual address to the Federal Assembly.
In accordance with Article 84 of the Russian constitution, the president of Russia makes to the Federal Assembly a state-of-the-nation address on the main aspects of domestic and foreign policy every year.
By tradition, the ceremony will begin at midday in the Marble Hall of the Kremlin. The anthem of Russia will be played, and the chairman of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russian parliament) will announce the speech by the president.
Invitees to the Kremlin's Marble Hall, apart from deputies and senators, also include members of the Russian government, the chairmen of the Constitutional, Supreme and Superior Arbitration courts of the Russian Federation, the Prosecutor-General of Russia, the chairman of the Central Election Committee of Russia, the chairman of the Audit Chamber of Russia, members of the State Council of Russia, and heads of the principal confessions.
Today's address will be the fifth speech by Vladimir Putin to Federal Assembly deputies and the eleventh appearance by a head of state in the history of address-making.
More than 250 Russian and foreign journalists are accredited to cover the presidential address, according to information available to RIA Novosti.
Most of the press will be accommodated in the foyer, provided with several monitor screens that will relay the president's speech. Channel One and Rossiya Channel will show the president's speech live.
A source in the presidential administration told RIA Novosti that "work on the address began at the end of last year and was carried on until the last moment".
"The text of the address will be considered final after the president completes his speech, since even in the course of delivering the document Putin may make changes to it," the source noted.
He emphasized that the head of state had taken the most active part in writing the text of the address.
"It was as early as March that Putin, jointly with a group of authors, started work on the document and kept making adjustments to it," the source told the agency.
According to him, the working group that prepared the text of the address consisted of staff members of the presidential administration, with each responsible for their areas.
Thus, the economic section of the address was prepared by presidential aide Igor Shuvalov and presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov, proposals on foreign policy were submitted by presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko. Remarks were sent in by Russia's Security Council secretary Igor Ivanov.
The ultimate text was pieced together by a group of speech writers led by presidential aide Dzhakhan Polliyeva.
The source noted that since this address would be the first address in Putin's new presidential term, it will set tasks to develop the country not only for one year or the next four years, but also for a longer term, because it is obvious that such objectives as doubling GDP go beyond the limits of four years.
Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first president, now on holiday in the North Caucasus, will watch Putin's speech on television, his chief of protocol Vladimir Shevchenko told RIA Novosti.
By tradition, the president of Russia delivers his address to the Federal Assembly in the Marble Hall.
The Kremlin's Marble Hall was built in 1982. Initially, it was designed to hold plenary meetings of the Soviet Communist Party central committee.
The stalls are set to accommodate 648 people, and the balcony 140. On special occasions the hall can seat up to a thousand.
The hall walls are decorated with white marble.
The Marble Hall is situated in the Kremlin's building No.14, which was constructed in 1932-1934. This is the Kremlin's first structure of the Soviet era.
Originally, Building No.14 housed the VTsIK Military School. In 1938, the secretariat of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR moved in there.
At present the building accommodates staff of the presidential administration, including aides to the head of state. The halls of this building, in addition to the Grand Kremlin Palace and Building No.1, host organized events attended by the president, such as State Council presidium meetings.
Also here is the working office of the head of state.
After it turned out that Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov included the Fonbet betting company in the list of backbone enterprises that can count on state support, everyone started talking about these bookmakers.