- Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia has survived an “economic blitzkrieg” of Western sanctions.
- But he warned of a “temporary” rise in unemployment and inflation in the country.
- The West has hit Russia with sweeping sanctions aimed at limping its economy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that an “economic blitzkrieg” of Western sanctions had “failed,” but told his government and citizens to prepare for rising unemployment and inflation.
In a televised government meeting, Putin called on his compatriots to unite to overcome the sanctions applied by the West to Russia after invading Ukraine.
“Yes, it’s not easy for us now,” Putin said, according to AFP. “But this economic blitzkrieg against Russia has failed.”
But he recognized several challenges facing the Russian economy, predicting a “temporary” rise in inflation and unemployment, according to Bloomberg.
“The new realities will require profound structural changes in our economy,” Putin said, according to Bloomberg. “And I won’t hide it, it won’t be easy.”
During the meeting, Putin ordered government officials to increase social benefits and ensure the country has adequate supplies of essential consumer products to stem a price hike, Bloomberg said. Consumer spending increased by 1 trillion rubles ($ 9.5 billion) after the invasion of Ukraine when Russians flocked to stock up on food and other essentials, Putin said.
The Russian leader assured officials that the Kremlin had “all the resources it needs to solve long-term tasks,” AFP reported.
He added: “The current situation is obviously a test. I am sure we will overcome it with dignity and hard work. We will overcome these difficulties.”
Putin’s meeting on economic issues came after the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia aimed at limping its economy. Russia’s central bank is among the numerous institutions targeted, as well as wealthy businessmen with links to the Kremlin.
Russia’s central bank responded to the sanctions by more than doubling the base interest rate, from 9.5% to 20%, and increasing gold purchases.
The Moscow Stock Exchange is closed for the third consecutive week to avoid a collapse in share prices.
Meanwhile, Western companies including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and oil giants BP and Shell have exited Russia en masse.
Putin warned foreign companies that Russia could seize their assets if they stop doing business in the country and may even nationalize them.