Russian economy enters stage of sustainable growth: Putin

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The Russian economy has entered a trajectory of sustainable growth as a result of an improving economic environment and the implementation of strategic national projects, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

"We have not only overcome the decline, but we have stepped on a trajectory of sustainable growth," he said on the sidelines of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2019), which this year is focused on means to guarantee sustainable development.

The president made the remarks when meeting heads of news agencies and answering a question by President of China's Xinhua News Agency Cai Mingzhao on concrete plans and measures aimed at further recovery of the Russian economy.

In order to overcome a series of difficulties, in particular a series of sanctions imposed on the country, Russia has carried out a number of economic policies.

"Last year we had inflation of four-odd percent. This year, annualized inflation is five-odd percent and this happens after the increase of the value-added tax. This is better than we expected," Putin said.

In addition, Russia achieved a notable trade surplus last year, which added up to 131 billion U.S. dollars, exceeding the capital flight of 66 billion by a large margin, he added.

As a matter of fact, capital is starting to return to the Russian market, according to Putin.

The president attributed the progress to the implementation of Russia's national projects on key development trends.

In February, the Russian government said it planned to spend over 25.7 trillion rubles (395 billion dollars) on projects in a dozen of areas outlined in the national strategic development plan for 2019-2024, which was given the green light by Putin in May.

"The main aim is to diversify the economy. This means switching it to a path of innovation and attributing an innovative character to it," Putin said.

He added that Russia has designed an entire set of measures to reach these goals, such as upgrading and digitalizing its economic management system, introducing artificial intelligence in various spheres, enhancing medical and biological technologies and developing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Russia has been active in attracting both domestic and foreign investment, according to Putin.

"To guarantee these investments, the state has to invest its own resources, primarily in the development of infrastructure and improvement of the work conditions for businesses," he said.

The Russian leadership regularly meets with foreign entrepreneurs to assure them of stability and predictability of Russia's economic situation, Putin said.

According to the World Bank's Doing Business 2019, a report that evaluate the business environment of 190 economies, Russia, a country once took the 120th place, now ranks 31th on the list.

"Over the past years, we've made decisions to make substantial revisions to some economic auditing and supervision systems, abolish outdated practices and rules that hamper growth and establish new systems so as to improve the business environment," said Putin.

During the meeting, Putin also answered questions on Russia-U.S. relations, Russia-Japan relations and the situation in Venezuela.

The SPIEF 2019 began on Thursday and will run through Saturday, during which Russia is expected to ink dozens of deals with other countries including China.

On Wednesday, China and Russia agreed to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, following a meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow, who came for a state visit and the participation in the forum.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China- Russia diplomatic ties.

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