Putin: Russia can effectively confront potential economic crisis

The Russian economy is ready to confront a potential economic crisis, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday at a meeting with regional ombudsmen.

The human rights ombudsmen meeting with Putin were interested in economic issues as well as social ones. The ombudsman from Sverdlovsk Region, Tatyana Merzlyakova asked the president whether a crisis should be expected in Russia.

Putin said the situation in the global and European economies is very difficult. "And not only in Europe. In the United States, which is the engine of the global economy, the situation has actually improved on the surface but macroeconomic indicators, which are very important for the stability of the economy, are not any better than in Europe. The state debt there is 104 percent," he said, adding that the U.S. financial system is burdened with mortgage loans issued under government guarantees.

"All this causes certain concern. And now there are reports that in China the rate of economic growth has slowed somewhat and fallen, and China is one of the biggest consumers. These are, of course, worrying signs. Let's hope that all of these concerns don't boil over into a full-scale crisis," Putin said.

"We need to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst," Putin said.

He recalled that in 2011 the government began to develop anti-crisis measures in advance in case the situation in the economy took a turn for the worse. "In the first half of the year the government didn't even release expenditure items so as to thus have the ability to quickly react to the possible unfavourable development of the situation in the global economy. This was not required," Putin said.

He said the government has set aside certain resources for such an eventuality. "We have additionally agreed on a fairly significant amount for the beginning of next year that will be provided for in the 2013 budget as a standby reserve of the government in order to effectively and vigorously react to signs of crisis in the economy if they occur," Putin said.

He said the Russian economy is currently in good condition. "We are confident that if a crisis arises we have what it takes to effectively confront it," Putin said.

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