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Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia had survived an “economic blitzkrieg” of Western sanctions.But he warned of a “temporary” rise in unemployment and inflation in the country.The West has hit Russia with sweeping sanctions aimed at hobbling its economy.
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In a televised government meeting, Putin called on his countrymen to band together to rise above sanctions applied by the West to Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
“Yes, it is not easy for us now,” Putin said, according to AFP.”But this economic blitzkrieg against Russia has failed.”
But he did acknowledge several challenges facing the Russian economy, predicting a “temporary” rise in inflation and unemployment, according to Bloomberg.
“The new realities will require deep structural changes in our economy,” Putin said, according to Bloomberg.”And, I won’t hide it, they won’t be easy.”
At the meeting, Putin ordered government officials to increase social benefits and ensure the country had adequate supplies of essential consumer products to stem a price surge, Bloomberg reported.
Consumer spending jumped by 1 trillion rubles ($9.5 billion) after the Ukraine invasion as Russians flocked to stock up on food and other staples, Putin said.
The Russian leader assured officials that the Kremlin had “all the necessary resources to solve long-term tasks,” AFP reported.
He added: “The current situation is, of course, a test.I am sure that we will pass it with dignity and hard work.
We will overcome these difficulties.”
Putin’s meeting addressing economic issues came after the US, UK, European Union, and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia aimed at hobbling its economy.Russia’s central bank is among several institutions targeted, as are wealthy businessmen with links to the Kremlin.
Russia’s central bank responded to the sanctions by more than doubling its base interest rate , from 9.5% to 20%, and stepping up gold purchases.
The Moscow Stock Exchange remains closed for the third week running, to avoid a collapse in equity prices.
Meanwhile, Western companies including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and the oil giants BP and Shell have been exiting Russia en masse.
Putin has warned foreign companies that Russia could seize their assets if they stop doing business in the country and could even nationalize them.