Russia avoided critical economic contraction in face of coronavirus crisis – Putin

The coronavirus pandemic did not result in a critical downturn for the Russian economy thanks to the support measures implemented by the government, President Vladimir Putin has stated.

Despite the difficulties, all the macroeconomic indicators remained stable and the country continued to implement major infrastructure projects this year, the Russian leader said during a meeting with the government on Thursday. 

“We prevented a critical contraction, which could have considerably set back the Russian economy,” he said, adding that the government implemented systemic support measures for key sectors. “We’ve managed to solve the issue of protecting the population in general.”

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Putin previously said that the government had spent 4.6 trillion rubles (around $62 billion) to support its citizens and keep the economy afloat amid the pandemic. The support measures for businesses included rescheduling tax payments, issuing grants and special terms for loans among other programs.

The Russian economy showed a strong recovery in the third quarter, but is set to shrink this year. However, it is expected to do better than most European countries. According to the most recent World Bank predictions, Russia’s gross domestic product is forecast to fall four percent this year instead of the previously anticipated five-percent drop. Meanwhile, EU GDP is expected to contract by about seven and a half percent in 2020, and the euro area economy is set to contract by 7.8 percent.

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