“We need a more fair and balanced economic model” - Vladimir Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addresses the100th International Labor Organization (ILO) at the United Nations Office in Geneva on June 15, 2011 (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a UN labor meeting in Geneva on Wednesday that the global community must remain vigilant and protect against human right violations as the global crisis grinds on.

­As the global economy struggles to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Putin told the 100th anniversary session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) that the Russian economy remains well below the level it was at before the crisis hit.

Putin, who was the first Russian politician to address the ILC, revealed that Russia has “managed to recover two-thirds of our economy, but still we have not reached pre-crisis levels.”

"We have set an ambitious task – over the next decade to steer Russia into the top five economies in the world, and to raise the GDP per capita from the current 19,700 dollars to more than 35 thousand dollars per person," he said.

Putin added Russia must double its productivity and create new jobs in the high-technology sector in order to achieve such a goal.

The 2008 global financial crisis, which began in the United States as the result of a subprime mortgage meltdown which witnessed millions of Americans unable to pay off their home loans, triggered powerful aftershocks through the global economy, which is still not out of the jungle yet.

The Russian Prime Minister said that Russia's economy – which is ranked as the world's sixth-largest – would have to wait until 2012 to reach pre-crisis levels.

Meanwhile, Putin criticized the current structure of the international economic institutions, saying that it needs to better reflect the needs of the world’s inhabitants.

“It's evident we need a fairer and more balanced economic model,” he said, while warning that the global community must be aware that violations of basic human rights may be violated under such harsh conditions. 

"In these conditions, one can easily roll down to decisions which can violate fundamental human rights and liberties and spawn new risks."

The most recent manifestation of the controversy over how best to organize the global economy arose with the sudden departure of former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who announced his retirement following a high-profile sex scandal. 

In has become the unspoken rule that the leader of the IMF hails from the European Union (meanwhile, the leader of the World Bank is traditionally American). The BRICS, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, argue that it is time to rethink this tradition in light of the modern economic realities.

Presently, the members are against the selection of Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry in France to fill the leadership vacuum at the IMF.

During Putin’s working visit in Switzerland, he will meet with Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Juan Somavia and hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of a number of international organizations based in Geneva, including Director General of the UN Geneva Office Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Hamadun Ture, and Secretary General of the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) Rob Steele.

Meanwhile, boosting bilateral relations with Switzerland will be in the focus of Putin's meeting with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Putin will also meet with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jean Rogge to discuss preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.

Robert Bridge, RT