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Vladimir Putin warns Russians over belt tightening

  • Author:naky
  • Source:www.diecastingpartsupplier.com
  • Release on:2015-12-21
Vladimir Putin has put Russians on notice for a long winter, warning of extended economic weakness and the need for further belt-tightening.

“The Russian economy has passed the peak of the crisis — not the crisis, but the peak of the crisis,” Mr Putin told hundreds of reporters on Thursday, in a marked departure from his earlier insistence that the country — while facing difficulties — was not in crisis.

The Russian president delivered his assessment during a wide-ranging, end-of-year press conference that featured a burst of admiration for Donald Trump and another slap at Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Calling the Republican presidential hopeful “flamboyant” and “very talented”, Mr Putin said of Mr Trump: “He is an absolute leader of the presidential race as we see it today. He says he wants to take relations with Russia to another level, a more thorough level. How can we not welcome that?”

By contrast, he escalated a brawl with Mr Erdogan begun last month when the Turkish military shot down a Russian bomber at the border with Syria.
“In the past Turkey still flew there and violated Syrian airspace all the time, now let them try to fly there!” he threatened, mentioning Russia’s recent deployment of S-400 air defence systems to Syria. “If someone in the Turkish leadership decided to kiss the Americans on a certain body part — I don’t know if they succeeded,” he added, noting that he saw no hope for repairing relations with the government in Ankara.

Mr Putin also offered a surprise admission that Russian special forces had been in eastern Ukraine, telling a Ukrainian journalist: “We never said that there are no people who deal with the resolution of certain problems there, including in the military sphere, but that doesn’t mean that there are regular Russian troops there. Feel the difference.”

“We calculated the budget for next year from these figures. That is a very optimistic assessment — $50 per barrel. But where does it stand now already — $38? Therefore, we will probably be forced to correct something here,” Mr Putin said.

The remarks follow frequent warnings from economic advisers such as Alexei Kudrin, the former finance minister, who said a stagnating population and dwindling economic growth means Moscow needs to address pension and other long-delayed structural reforms.

Although the government expects gross domestic product to return to 0.7 growth in 2016, the central bank has said the country has the potential to grow little more than 2 per cent a year in the medium term. Real household incomes are expected to fall at least 5 per cent this year — the first such drop in Mr Putin’s 16 years in power.
While Mr Putin’s support ratings continue to stand at record highs above 80 per cent, polls reflect deepening dissatisfaction over the economy. In a rare sign of open discontent, truck drivers from several Russian regions have been protesting against a new electronic toll system for more than six weeks.

In keeping with the sober mood, Mr Putin cut down on the banter with journalists from far-flung regions that had become the event’s trademark. A session that once sprawled to a record 4.5 hours was wrapped up in a mere three.