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Russia's economy can be stable without high oil revenues

Staff writer |
The Russian economy has proved that it can remain stable without major oil and gas revenues, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

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"The structure of the budget revenues has changed. The share of revenues not related to sales of oil and gas rose to nearly 60 percent," Medvedev said when presenting a report of government work in 2015 to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.

Nevertheless, the financing possibilities of the government still depend on exports of raw materials and access to foreign loans, Medvedev noted.

He called for creating a more self-supporting economy with a more modern economic structure.

Slumping oil prices and Western sanctions imposed to punish Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis have dealt a serious blow to the Russian economy, with the country's GDP dropping by 3.7 percent.

But Medvedev said that, despite the difficulties, the government has managed to keep inflation below 8 percent last year, comparable to 2010 when the economy began to revive from the 2008 financial crisis.

Sovereign debt was kept at a low level of 13.6 percent of the GDP, Medvedev added.

He mentioned the country's military industrial complex as one example of the efficient government work.

Orders for its production totaled a record high of 56 billion U.S. dollars last year, while revenues from exports exceeded 14 billion dollars and contracts worth more than 26 billion dollars were signed, Medvedev said.

"The military industrial complex is becoming all the more independent from foreign deliveries," said the prime minister.

Medvedev recalled that support for non-commodity exports and import substitution was listed as one crucial area of Russia's long-term economic development.

He noted that constant efforts would be paid to budgetary policy and improving the business environment.

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