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Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a realistic assessment of his country's economy on Wednesday, telling an investment forum of senior economic figures that conditions still need to improve further.
Speaking at VTB Bank's "Russia Calling" investment forum on Wednesday, Putin said that authorities need to support macroeconomic stability but said that the country is experiencing a revival in banking.
He stressed that a 3 percent budget deficit this year was acceptable, adding that it needs to stick to its inflation goal and added that the overall trend is for interest rates to fall. He added that officials understand that economic growth will not start automatically, later telling the audience that the central bank should clean up the banking system carefully.
Russia's economy is gradually starting to improve even if Russia's global political standing is at a low point, mainly due to its unwavering support for the controversial Syrian regime and participation in the bombardment of eastern Aleppo, as well as its provocative incursions into Ukrainian territory.
The economy entered recession last year amid a global slump in oil prices and western economic sanctions that were imposed on the country for its annexation of Crimea in early 2014 and the alleged role in a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine.
However, the International Monetary Fund predicted in its latest World Economic Outlook in October that Russia's economy could return to growth in 2017 and that its recession had been shallower than expected. It forecast a contraction in Russian GDP (gross domestic product) of 0.8 percent this year but growth of 1.1 percent in 2017.