MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Sanctions and low oil prices no longer frighten anybody, the Russian economy has learned to use the situation to its own advantage by entering into a struggle for leadership on the domestic and foreign markets, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.
"They continued to press us with sanctions… And oil was cheap… But we learned to use the situation when we entered into a competitive struggle for leadership on the domestic and foreign markets. Today, no challenges are frightening us, on the contrary — they give us an incentive to develop," Medvedev said.
Russia has been hit by a downturn that began in early 2015 after falling oil prices and Western anti-Russia sanctions took bite. The country's GDP fell 3.7 percent in 2015, according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service Rosstat.
Russia's Reserve Fund will not be exhausted this year in light of higher than expected earnings.
"We are managing to keep the budget deficit at an acceptable level. The main source of its absorption is the Reserve Fund, whose money was theoretically due to end by the end of this year. This will not happen," Medvedev said.
He said, "we earned more than planned, including through the mobilization of revenue."
"Two of the largest ratings agencies of the ‘big three’ have changed their forecasts of for the Russian economy from ‘negative’ to ‘stable.’ Another one, S&P, raised it to ‘positive.’ Russia could return to the category of countries with an investment rating," Medvedev added.