As it turns out, the on-going sanctions against Russia by the US and the eurozone might actually be good for the economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the German TV news station ARD.
“True, there are pluses because, let’s say, those restrictions on the acquisition of certain goods in the West, in Europe, in the States are introduced for some Russian companies — this forces us to produce that good ourselves,” Putin told ARD.
“This comfortable life where we thought only about producing more oil and gas, and buying everything else, is in the past,” he added.
In other words, Putin stated that the sanctions will force the Russian economy to evolve past its dependence on the oil and gas industries.
Earlier this year, the US and the EU imposed a series of sanctions on finance, energy and defence sectors in Russia. The sanctions were instituted in an effort to further isolate Russia politically and economically, and in particular, to hurt the “areas of importance to President Putin and those close to him,” according to President Obama.
The Russian economy has taken a serious beating following the sanctions. For starters, the ruble is now in free fall and inflation is way above target. Additionally, falling oil prices have put immense pressure on the economy.
Last week, Putin expressed a more pessimistic take regarding these sanctions: “[The sanctions are] harmful, and of course, they cause damage to us, but they’re also harmful to them — because they undermine the entire system of economic relations. I really hope, I assume, that this will ultimately be understood and will remain in the past.”
Despite the economic turmoil, Putin told ARD that the Russian economy is still growing.
“Regarding growth. This year we saw a modest growth, but it was still growth — somewhere between 0.5 to 0.6 per cent. Next year, we plan to grow by 1.2 per cent, and then — 2.3 per cent the next year — 3 per cent growth. In general, these aren’t the numbers we would like to see, but it’s still growth, and we’re confident that we will achieve these targets,” Putin said.