|Follow us on:|
The BRICS capitals share key economic interests and oppose what they claim to be a US-dominated world order.
Putin on Friday said western sanctions “boosted domestic industry from chemicals to farming” in Russia and that despite predictions of crisis, Moscow has controlled inflation and unemployment.
He was addressing business and political leaders attending the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“At the end of last year people predicted a deep crisis in Russia but this has not happened. We have managed to stabilize the situation. We have been able to maintain control over inflation… We haven’t put any barriers for free flow of foreign capital to Russia… We did not let unemployment rates rise like in 2008,” asserted Putin.
Russian GDP contracted 1.9 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier after a 0.4 per cent gain in the previous three months, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said in May. The data was better than most forecasts.
Putin on Friday also reiterated growing ties with BRICS.
“Our cooperation with BRICS countries is very important and it will definitely facilitate our new economic diversification,” said Putin.
The BRICS Summit that Russia will host in July “will strengthen ties” said Putin.
Highlighting the growing ties between Eurasia’s two great powers, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at the forum said Moscow-Beijing ties have never been stronger.
Both Putin and the Gaoli on Friday stressed on aligning China’s ambitious Silk Road project, One Belt One Road, and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union for “better results”. As part of China’s Silk Road initiative, China is set to invest in Russian infrastructure that could improve transport of Chinese goods across Russia to Europe and the Middle East.
The Russian economy is adjusting after a plunge in oil prices and sanctions imposed by the US, the EU and allies over Ukraine.
As Russia’s economy is regaining its footing, Ukraine’s GDP sank 17.6 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, official data released in May said.
Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras, who spoke after Putin at the forum on Friday, criticized the EU for believing that it “was the center of the world”. He also noted that “economic centers of the world are shifting”.
“The economic center of the planet has shifted. There are new emerging forces that are playing a more important role geopolitically and economically. International relations are more and more characterized by multi-polarity,” said Tsipras.
“Enhanced cooperation among the BRICS countries is another manifestation of the new world order at the moment,” he added.