"The decline that the Russian economy is experiencing to a far greater extent should be attributed to the situation on the commodity market rather than to the sanctions," Vekselberg said at a plenary session of the Russian-Japanese business forum in Tokyo.
He added that the Russian dependence on energy exports was quite dangerous, and in order to address this situation the Russian government had launched a program designed to foster innovations in the Russian economy.
The Skolkovo Innovation Center project, launched in 2010, is often labeled Russia’s Silicon Valley and was intended to lead the country’s drive to diversify and modernize its economy and increase the country's output of high-tech products.
Oil market turbulence caused oil prices to plunge from $115 per barrel in June 2014 to less than $30 per barrel in January 2016, causing hardship for oil exporters. Prices have partially recovered and are currently at around $50-55 per barrel.