Home > World News > In campaign article, Putin says Russia’s economy should diversify away from oil and gas

In campaign article, Putin says Russia’s economy should diversify away from oil and gas

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running for the Russian presidency, on Monday called for the country’s economic diversification away from oil and gas to high-tech products to ensure future prosperity.

Five weeks before the presidential election, he is expanding on crucial points of his campaign programs in weekly articles in the Russian press.

Putin, who was Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008, could occupy the top post for at least six years if he wins the March 4 vote.

Although his popularity has been dented by alleged vote rigging in the December parliamentary vote and mass street protests in Russian cities, pollsters still say he could get from 44 to 62 percent of the vote.

In an article published Monday, Putin, who presided over an oil-fueled economic boom of the 2000s, admitted that the current economic model is ruinous for the country.

Exports of oil, gas, metals, timber and other raw materials account for a quarter of Russia’s gross domestic product, Putin said, lamenting the amount imports into Russia.

“Russia cannot afford to have an economy that does not provide us with stability, sovereignty or prosperity,” Putin wrote in his article in the Vedomosti daily.

He also urged to cut state shareholding in state-owned natural resource giants — a privatization roll that his government has spoken of for years. However, Putin’s close ally and energy czar Igor Sechin has recently advocated against the sale of such assets as oil producer Rosneft, citing unfavorable market conditions.

Columnists in Vedomosti blasted the eleven-page essay as lacking substance and offering few solutions.

Authors of Vedomosti’s editorial have pointed to the predominance of phrases like “ought to”, “necessary” and “will be” and the lack of words, signaling Putin’s responsibility for the country’s development. “What has he been doing all the past years?” the editorial asked.



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