Crisis far from being over – Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned that the economic crisis has yet to hit bottom. Russia, he said, would have a tough year, but would make it through.

Putin was speaking at a meeting of the leaders of the United Russia party.

“We’re closely watching the processes running in the world economy – whether good or bad – we depend on it and have to state that the crisis is far from being over and has not even reached its peak yet,” said the prime minister.

And, according to Putin, at the same time the measures taken by developed countries “are not bringing visible results yet”.

“It means such a situation may remain for a rather long time,” he noted.

He also spoke of the importance for the countries joining their efforts to fight the financial crisis.

“The scale of disproportions that accumulated in the world economy is too large, and in order to clear the path to a new upturn much has to be accomplished together with our partners in the international community, and on our own,” Putin said.

Tough economy mode

The head of the Russian government has called for “a regime of tough economy” in many fields of budget expenditures, at the same time warning about indiscriminate, “mechanical” cuts.

“Each budget item resolves a certain problem, so there should be no mechanical cuts. On the contrary, we must carefully weigh the ”pros“ and ”cons“ when thinking about increasing or decreasing budget expenditures on certain items,” he said.

Putin also called for paying special attention to the program of employment support by encouraging local authorities to work out additional measures.

‘Ruble becoming convertible reserve currency’

Among the positive developments in the economy, the prime minister mentioned that the ruble has actually become a convertible reserve regional currency. This comes as a result of the decision not to impose restrictions on the movement of capital, Putin believes.

Further, according to Putin, the ruble now accounts for about 90 per cent of Russia’s trade turnover with Belarus.

“This is an important advantage for our economy and we do not wish to abandon it. The crisis will be over some day, and we should create the basis for the consolidation of the economy,” Putin said.