On Monday, during a visit to Vishnevsky Military Hospital in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said the Russian economy was doing quite well and expanding rapidly despite the imposition of Western sanctions.

He noted that there was a 3.5% expansion in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2023, which he characterized as a very promising development following a 2.1% contraction in 2022.

He went on to say that even though the Russian economy still has challenges, like inflation, “Our GDP, the key indicator that shows how much our economy has produced… grew 3.5% in 2023. What this tells us is that our economy is functioning steadily. We recuperated our losses and moved forward. This is fundamental. …we’re keeping everything under control.”

President Putin said the growth of the Russian economy is a result of changes the nation’s economy underwent over the previous year.

He said, “We have never seen anything like that before: while we used to make money from oil and gas [exports], 2023 was the first year when our processing, our manufacturing sector has been growing much faster and generated much more revenue. What we’re witnessing are structural shifts in our economy, and they are very important.”

He added that Russia’s economic stability has suffered no long-term harm from the Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the West, including the disconnection of Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system, and the withdrawal of some large Western companies from the Russian market.

He said, “The companies that left our market expected the Russian economy to crumble, our businesses and manufacturing to stop running, and thousands of Russians to lose jobs. Our adversaries expected people to take to the streets begging for bread… [but] our economy is stable and our financial system is stable as well.” He added that in Russia, unemployment is currently at a historic low of 2.9% as real household incomes and real disposable income were both significantly higher.

He also pointed out how beneficial the exit of Western companies were for Russia’s domestic businesses.

He said, “Everyone thought that our manufacturing would stop because [the West] stopped supplying components. It didn’t happen. Yes, they created problems, but these problems are being overcome… When certain foreign firms have left, our businesses immediately took over.” He added that Russia has plenty of talent, qualified specialists, and managers, in order to “ensure that everything runs smoothly.”

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