Friday, April 20, 2018 | ePaper

Western sanctions made Russia stronger: Putin

  • Print


President Vladimir Putin listens during his annual televised call-in show in Moscow on Thursday.

AP, Moscow :
Russia has climbed out of recession despite continuing Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, adding that the restrictions have forced the country to "switch on our brains" to reduce its dependence on energy exports.
Speaking in a live call-in show televised nationwide, Putin deplored the U.S. Senate's decision Wednesday to impose new sanctions on Russia as a reflection of Western efforts to "contain" Russia, but insisted that the measures only have made the country stronger.
The Republican-led Senate voted Wednesday to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election by approving a wide-ranging package of sanctions that targets key sectors of Russia's economy and individuals who carried out cyberattacks.
The Senate bill follows up on several rounds of other sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
Putin argued that Russia has done nothing to warrant the Senate's move, saying it highlights the West's policy of containing Russia and also reflects domestic infighting in the United States.
"It's evidence of a continuing internal political struggle in the U.S.," he said.
Putin said that the sanctions have given Russia an incentive to shed its dependence on oil and gas exports and "switch on our brains and talents" to develop other industries. He emphasized that electronics, aerospace industries and agriculture have all received a boost.
Russia has responded to the U.S. and EU sanctions by halting most Western food imports, a move that has helped increase Russian agricultural output.
Russian farmers have pleaded with the Kremlin to keep the import ban even if the West lifts its sanctions, but Putin said that if "our partners lift the sanctions against our economy, we will respond in kind."
The Russian leader claimed that the "crisis is over," pointing at modest economic growth over the past nine months, low inflation and rising currency reserves.
Putin said that a slump in oil prices had been a more important factor in Russia's economic slowdown than the sanctions.
He acknowledged that the Russian economy hasn't yet shed its dependence on exports of raw materials, but noted that non-energy exports have been growing.
Putin recognized that people's incomes have fallen and 13.5 percent of Russians now live below the poverty line currently equivalent to $170.
Most of the questions during the tightly-choreographed show were about low salaries, decrepit housing, failing health care and other social problems.

More News For this Category

Bureaucrat set to replace Raul Castro as Cuba's President

Bureaucrat set to replace Raul Castro as Cuba's President

AP, Havana  :A 57-year-old bureaucrat will take Raul Castro's place as the president of Cuba on Thursday as a government led by a single family for six decades tries

UN in talks with Syria, Russia on security for chemical weapons experts

UN in talks with Syria, Russia on security for chemical weapons experts

AFP, United Nations :A UN team is discussing security arrangements with Syrian and Russian authorities in Douma to allow experts to deploy soon to investigate an alleged chemical weapons attack,

Trump says porn star Stormy Daniels is conning the media

Trump says porn star Stormy Daniels is conning the media

AFP, Washington :US President Donald Trump accused porn star Stormy Daniels on Wednesday of pulling a "total con job" by releasing an artist's sketch of a man she said

News In Brief

Taiwan calls Chinese military drills a threat to regionAP, Beijing Taiwan's government said Thursday that recent Chinese military drills aim to intimidate the island and are a threat to

Trump hopeful for Kim summit, but not afraid to walk away

Trump hopeful for Kim summit, but not afraid to walk away

AFP, United States :US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he hoped his improbable summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un would go ahead-but warned he was not afraid to

Modi confronted by angry protests in London

Modi confronted by angry protests in London

Reuters, London  :Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday, demonstrating over a rising tide of sexual violence at home,

Seoul to seek deal on formally ending war with N Korea

Seoul to seek deal on formally ending war with N Korea

AFP, Seoul :South Korea is seeking to open discussions about formally declaring an end to the war with the nuclear-armed North at a rare inter-Korean summit next week, officials

Saudi Arabia to show 'Black Panther' to mark cinema opening

Saudi Arabia to show 'Black Panther' to mark cinema opening

AP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia will hold a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster "Black Panther" to herald the launch of movie theaters that are set to open to the

Mahathir sees 50-50 chance of opposition win

Mahathir sees 50-50 chance of opposition win

AP, Putrajaya, Malaysia :Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday that huge rallies indicate some of the ruling coalition's traditional Malay supporters are now favoring the opposition and a

US in `extremely high` level talks with North Korea on summit: Trump

US in `extremely high` level talks with North Korea on summit: Trump

Reuters  Beach, Fla :President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States is engaged in direct talks at "extremely high levels" with North Korea to try to set up