Vladimir Putin’s July 8 speech to a joint session of parliament chose large and familiar themes: the need to “strengthen the state” and “establish a single vertical line of power” while carrying out liberal economic reforms. Putin said that “the state interferes excessively in spheres where it should be absent and is absent where its presence is needed.” Economic growth demands lower taxes, consistent government and an end to “the rampage of criminals.” Political freedom demands “truly free media,” not controlled by “politicians and weighty financial groups.”