MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin has hailed the nation's economic performance.
Speaking Thursday in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin said the nation's economic performance has remained strong, despite Western sanctions slapped on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and a slump in global oil prices.
He noted a 3.7-percent increase in agricultural production and low unemployment, but acknowledged that an 11.4-percent annual inflation rate has put a strain on consumers' budget.
Putin pointed to the ruble's recent recovery following its sharp devaluation last year as a sign of the Russian economy's resilience.
He said the sanctions have given Russian a strong impetus to diversify away from its heavy reliance on oil and dependence on imports, and would encourage it to develop high-tech industries.