Putin blames Western sanctions for economic crisis
 Tbilisi 11:48 - 19.12.14 «GHN»
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Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to fix Russia's economic woes within two years, voicing confidence that the plummeting ruble will recover and promising to diversify Russia's gas-dependent economy, reports GHN based on FoxNews.
Speaking with strong emotion and looking confident, Putin also displayed a defiant stance toward the West, which he insisted was still trying to destroy Russia.
Putin acknowledged that Western economic sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine was just one factor behind Russia's economic crisis, accounting for roughly 25 to 30 percent of the ruble's troubles. He said a key reason for the currency's recent fall was the nation's failure to ease its overwhelming dependence on oil and gas exports.
As Putin spoke, the Russian currency was trading at 61 rubles to the dollar. That was slightly lower than last night but up 12 percent from the historic low of 80 to the dollar that it hit earlier this week. Russia's benchmark MICEX index rallied by 5.5 percent by midday Thursday.
The Russian leader sought to soothe market fears that the government could use administrative controls, such as obliging exporters to sell their currency earnings, to help stabilize the ruble.
Putin said the nation's currency reserves are sufficient to keep the economy in stable condition, adding that the Central Bank shouldn't aimlessly "burn" its $419 billion in reserves.
"Our economy will overcome the current situation. How much time will be needed for that? Under the most unfavorable circumstances I think it will take about two years," he said.

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