Putin seeks to ease fears over Russian economic crisis
 Tbilisi 11:51 - 19.12.14 «GHN»
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President Vladimir Putin has sought to ease fears over Russia's economy, insisting that the dramatic fall in the rouble will stabilize, reports GHN bases on BBC.
Speaking at his end-of-year news conference, which lasted over three hours, he blamed "outside factors" for the currency hitting an all-time low.
But he admitted Russia's central bank could have acted more swiftly.
Russia is on the verge of recession due to falling oil prices and sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis.
However, the president denied pursuing an "aggressive" foreign policy and accused the US and EU of conspiring to weaken Russia.
Mr Putin accepted Russia had failed to diversify its economy for the past two decades and relied too heavily on its oil and gas exports.
But he insisted the nation's currency reserves were sufficient to keep the economy stable, saying the central bank should not "burn" its $419bn reserves.
"I don't believe you can call it a crisis - you can call it what you like," he told a packed conference hall.
If the economic problems persisted, he said, the government would have to "reduce social spending and future growth".
But he added: "Our economy will get out of this crisis. How long? Maybe two years, but after that, growth is inevitable."
Although the rouble strengthened on Thursday morning, it has taken a battering in recent days.
The currency's collapse came after a drastic 6.5 percentage point rise in Russian interest rates to 17%.
Earlier this week, there were reports of Russians flocking to the shops to spend their cash before prices shoot back up. Many were said to be buying cars and home appliances.

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