Long-term ambition persists despite crisis

The global crisis proves that Russia’s development strategy for the next decade is right, and it will not be altered by the troubled times, said the prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

He was speaking at a cabinet session in Moscow to discuss the results of the year.

According to Putin, the government is entering the new year with anti-crisis mechanisms shaped and ready to counter the negative effects of the global financial crisis. It has already managed to save Russia’s banking sector and keep the economic system running smoothly. He said that people who have entrusted their money to banks will not lose it.

The prime minister said key sectors of the Russian economy will receive considerable support form the state in the form of tax benefits and credits to compensate for the shrinking demand for Russia’s main exports such as energy, metals and chemicals. This support will help businesses keep afloat and prevent mass unemployment.

Putin pledged help for those made redundant. The government has increased unemployment relief and regional programmes to create jobs. Putin also called for better enforcement of labour legislation, since some employers might be tempted to cut their costs at employees’ expense.

The results of the year are positive despite the blow that the global financial crisis has landed on Russia’s economy, according to Putin. Some indicators were even better then estimated, for example, agriculture production, though the prime minister admitted the situation could have been better.

Vladimir Putin believes the crisis may open new possibilities to modernise Russia’s infrastructure and make the economy more efficient and competitive. He said the government’s long-term ambition of making Russia one of the world’s leading countries in terms of economic strength and quality of life stands firm in the crisis.