Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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Opening remarks by the President of Russia at the meeting on economic issues
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
As agreed, today we will discuss the current situation in the economy, assess key trends in the real sector, in the financial system and with respect to currency, and we will also focus separately on the risks affecting social and economic dynamics.
I would like to note that real-time statistics show that the economic situation is generally developing in a predictable manner, in line with the forecast.
In the first nine months of the year, Russia’s GDP grew by 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year. In August and September, it added 5.2 percent each month.
Meanwhile, manufacturing industries and real sector industries not related to the extraction of natural resources are growing at a higher rate. I would like to emphasise sectors with good added value, such as the production of automobiles, equipment and machinery.
From January through September of this year, industrial production increased by 3.3 percent, and manufacturing grew by 7.1 percent, including the output of computers and electronic products – 34.5 percent growth, electrical equipment – 22.2 percent growth, furniture – 21.7 percent growth. In other words, all this shows that we have good momentum
All this is happening while unemployment remains persistently low, currently at around three percent. Wages in the economy are also increasing. In the first eight months they added 7.5 percent in real terms, which means wages are growing faster than inflation.
That said, I once again draw the attention of the Government and the Bank of Russia to the importance of efficient, coordinated action to tackle inflation. It directly affects the well-being of Russian families and our citizens. In particular, we need to carefully monitor price trends for socially important goods and services that are in highest demand.
Efforts to stabilise the currency market should help slow down inflation. We have the Executive Order on the Mandatory Sale of Currency Proceeds that has come into effect. There were many questions about whether it would have a positive impact [on the situation in the market] and now we know that it did. The activities of individual companies and banks are being monitored and analysed. Also, monetary policy measures are being taken to address the current situation while all objective factors, including external ones, are being considered.
I want to repeat and emphasise again that we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that the sanctions pressure of the West on us will intensify. Indeed, in previous years, our so-called partners already approved countless packages of sanctions, almost getting mixed up in these sanctions as they tried to punish us, but in the end as we see – this is obvious, judging by the statistics – they have delivered a blow to their own economy, to jobs [in their countries]. Now in their imaginations they reach the point of absurdity – you also know this – as they propose introducing a ban on the export of screwdrivers, needles and the like to Russia. Well, probably, the less junk we have the better: there is less chance of bedbugs being exported to us from major European megalopolises.
However, there is something that really worries us. Now that the aggressive sanctions imposed on us have all but exhausted their potential, acts of sabotage may take place at major global infrastructure facilities. We remember what happened to the Nord Stream pipelines.
Provocations like the recent attempt to blame Russia for the damage done to the gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia should not be ruled out either. There is nothing special about the pipeline itself, which carries a negligible volume of gas, but still it is an accident that can be latched onto to harm us. Of course, things like this might be used against us.
We should assess such risks in advance and respond to them proactively to ensure the continuous, stable work of our enterprises, companies, and personnel, as well as strong foreign trade ties and reliable logistics routes, so that, generally, we are able in any situation to guarantee the progressive development of the economy and the social sector, as well as public safety and the protection of national interests.
We also need to reinforce the positive trends in the industrial sector, agriculture and the services sector. We need to encourage businesses to invest in opening new plants, introducing new technological solutions and training specialists. Of course, financial, transport, logistics and other infrastructure needs to be further developed. It is a key condition for ensuring long-term growth and Russia’s economic sovereignty.
Let us get to work and discuss all topics that have been proposed. Today, I would like to ask Mr Maxim Oreshkin to begin. Please, Mr Oreshkin, take the floor.