Putin: Crisis Will Conclude in Two Years

At his annual end-of year conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin insists ruble will stabilize; blames 'outside factors' for crisis.

Cynthia Blank ,

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Reuters

At his annual end-of year news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that Russia's currency, the ruble, will stabilize, but warned the country's economic crisis could last two years. 

Although the ruble strengthened slightly on Thursday morning, it has fallen extremely low in recent days, and Russia may be on the verge of a recession. 

The ruble hit an all-time low Tuesday, and Russia's central bank was forced to reassure bank and financial companies of its ability to provide additional capital if needed. 

Reports also surfaced earlier this week of Russians flocking to stores before prices shot up. Many people were buying cars and home appliances. 

Putin blamed "outside factors" for the falling ruble, referring to Western sanctions put in place after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March. 

Putin did, however, admit that Russia's Central Bank should have acted faster as well as that Russia has failed to diversify its economy since the fall of oil prices and the implementation of Western sanctions. 

To exacerbate the situation, United States Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation this week, authorizing even more economic sanctions against Russia. 

European leaders are also expected to approve further sanctions against Russia, most likely a ban on investment in Crimea and on oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea. 

Despite the problems, Putin insisted that the nation's currency reserves were sufficient enough to keep the economy stable.  "I don't believe you can call it a crisis - you can call it what you like," he told a packed conference hall.

However, if the economic problems do persist, the Russian leader said, the government will have to "reduce social spending and future growth," adding, though, that Russia's economy "will get out of this crisis. How long? Maybe two years, but after that, growth is inevitable."



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