Putin to Russian business leaders: It could be worse

PutinREUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/KremlinRussia’s President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the international expert council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and representatives of the international investment community, part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (SPIEF 2015) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is giving a keynote speech and speaking with Charlie Rose on Bloomberg TV at the three-day Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

“We have managed to stabilise the situation,” Putin said, according to a translator. “We are successful in going through the difficulties.”

Most Western leaders and CEOs are staying away from the conference, once dubbed Russia’s answer to Davos, as Russia trades barbs with NATO and continues to back separatists in Ukraine. 

On Thursday, Putin insisted that the economy — wracked under Western sanctions — had adjusted to the lower oil price and would be able to cope. 

“In general, the budget has adapted to it, and the real sector,” Putin told Russian businessmen. “In general and on the whole, everything suits us.”

Putin met with the Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman and business leaders on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia Russia PutinGrigory Dukor/REUTERSRussian President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a meeting with Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Salman at the Konstantin (Konstantinovsky) Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2015.

Tsipras arrived at the forum Thursday and has met with top executives of Russian gas giant Gazprom, deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev told AFP. Putin is set to talk to Tsipras on Friday.

The Greek leader — who has openly criticised Western sanctions against Russia — is however unlikely to get any help in Saint Petersburg with the immediate problem of Greece’s June 30 deadline to repay 1.6 billion euros ($US1.8 billion) to one of its international creditors, analysts say. 

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