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'Someone Was Expecting Collapse of Russian Economy' – Putin

© Sputnik / Evgeniya Novozhenova / Go to the photo bankView of the Moscow Kremlin
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The Russian economy withstood the sanction pressure, Vladimir Putin stated.

ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) – Russia’s economy has not collapsed over Western sanctions as some wished and the peak of difficulties is in the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

“We were lacking $160 billion and last year our businesses and banks were to extinguish their current loans of a total of $130 billion before their foreign partners this year, plus another $60 billion. It looks like someone was expecting some sort of a collapse,” Putin told upper house lawmakers in St. Petersburg.

“There wasn’t a collapse. The Russian economy was able to easily pass over these artificial barriers.”

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Putin said that Russian businesses paid their loans pretty easily.

“A large part of the $60 billion was paid in the first quarter of this year. The peak has been crossed. If someone was counting on causing some sort of a collapse, it didn’t happen,” Putin said.

The Russian leader also noted that the West always says that politics is separate from economy, but there are efforts to use economic mechanisms.

“We have actually always believed that the economy is separate from politics. Our partners have always said that the economy and politics shouldn’t be mixed, but somehow there are attempts to use economic levers.”

Over the past year, the West has introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations.

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Western economic sanctions, as well as falling oil prices have led to a slowdown in Russia's economy, which is heavily reliant on energy exports. The ruble was seriously weakened at the end of 2014, losing about a half of its value against the dollar since summer 2014.

In early 2015, the Russian national currency stabilized and in March, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed that the Russian economy had passed its lowest point.

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