Russia's Putin says world economic model is in 'crisis mode' — and it is of a comprehensive nature

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Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on February 20, 2019. (

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the global economic model is in a state of crisis.

Speaking at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday, Putin highlighted the imbalance across the world and called on international institutions like the G-20 and United Nations to fix it.

"The current model of economic relations is unfortunately in crisis mode and this crisis is of a comprehensive nature," Putin said.

"Problems here have been accumulating over the recent decades and these issues are of a far greater scale and magnitude than we thought before," Putin said. This according to a translated version of his speech.

The plenary included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan, Slovakian President Peter Pellegrini and Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres.

"What are the sources of this crisis?," Putin asked the audience.

"I believe the main reason is that the globalization model which was put forth at the end of the 20th century is less and less relevant to the emerging new economic reality," he said.

Best friends

Russia began its annual business conference on Thursday, an event at which it will try to boost its appeal to international businesses and investors.

Russia and China appear to be intent on strengthening their alliance and fostering deeper cooperation in the face of increased political and economic hostility from the U.S. That bid to strengthen bilateral ties continues this week with Xi attending the forum as part of a three-day state visit to Russia, where he called President Vladimir Putin his "best friend."

China's commerce ministry reportedly said Thursday that Beijing and Moscow had signed more than $20 billion of deals to boost economic ties in areas such as technology and energy during the visit.

The meeting of the two prominent global powers comes as Russia's relations with the U.S. are at a low ebb amid continuing U.S. sanctions on the country (mainly related to Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and U.S. election interference), and China's relationship with the U.S. is fraught with trade war tensions.

Their traditional economic models — for Russia the export of energy products and for China the export of goods — looks increasingly uncertain.

Both Putin and Xi have vowed to fight protectionist policies, an accusation leveled at their U.S. counterpart. Remarking on the trade relationship, Xi told RIA Novosti this week that trade between the two nations is "especially valuable given the current complex environment of sluggish global trade and investment and surging protectionism in the world."

- CNBC's Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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