Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the nation’s economic performance.
Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Mr Putin said the nation’s economic performance has remained strong, despite Western sanctions slapped on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and a slump in global oil prices.
He noted a 3.7% increase in agricultural production and low unemployment, but acknowledged that an 11.4% annual inflation rate had put a strain on the consumers’ budget.
Mr Putin pointed to the ruble’s recent recovery following its sharp devaluation last year as a sign of the Russian economy’s resilience.
He said the sanctions have given Russia a strong impetus to diversify away from its heavy reliance on oil and dependence on imports, and would encourage it to develop high-tech industries.