MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Russia’s Communist Party on Wednesday lambasted the government's current social and economic policies, saying they are detrimental to the country’s economy and that a new cabinet is required to lead Russia out of a crisis.
“We must warn society that should the current social and economic course be continued, Russia would face a collapse,” Gennady Zyuganov said after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addressed the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, delivering a report on the cabinet’s work in 2012.
Zyuganov said Medvedev had admitted in 2009, when he was president, that the country was in deadlock, heavily dependent on raw materials and needing overall modernization, that the fight against rampant corruption was a priority and that a strong and effective team was needed to improve the situation.
The communist leader said Russian nationals had hoped that real modernization would start in the country and that its economic growth would accelerate, but lamented that in reality, Russia’s economic growth stalled and its debt increased, while gold and foreign currency reserves are shrinking.
“The share of raw materials in Russia’s exports has neared 90 percent,” he said. “Imports of cars, equipment, food and drugs have exceeded all admissible levels. We have stopped producing the simplest items.”
Medvedev said in his Wednesday address that he would offer a state prize for anyone who could find a method of ridding the Russian economy of its dependence on raw materials in the next few years.
“I cannot but agree with you that the raw materials model … has driven our country into a dead end,” Medvedev said in the State Duma.
“Our task is to leave this model behind… If you offer a version that would help us to escape this model over the next few years, I will nominate you for a state award. But I don’t think such a version exists,” Medvedev said in response to the deputies’ criticism of the country’s raw materials-based economy.
The Global Strategic Survey 2030 report, prepared in late 2012 by Russian economists from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, one of the world’s top 25 think tanks according to international ratings, said that Russia's economy will remain primarily based on raw materials production until 2030, along with the remnants of the high-tech sphere, such as the nuclear and space industries inherited from the Soviet era.
Zyuganov also criticized the government’s policy in industrial development, trade, agriculture and education. He also slammed the election system, saying it leaves the population with no choice.
“The Communist Party says outright: the country needs a new course, a new team, a new strategy and a new information policy,” he said. “We need a new government - a government of national interests, a government of popular trust.”
“We cannot get out of the crisis without strategic planning, without a smart industrial and regional policy, a reliable banking system and affordable loans,” the communist leader said, adding that prices for oil and gas, transport and utilities tariffs should be regulated.