Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Alexey Zabotkin said, “We believe that the recovery phase in the economy is over.” and added, “The economy will likely return to mid-year, fourth-quarter 2019 benchmarks.”
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development had forecasted economic growth of 2.9 percent for 2021. The Central Bank of Russia, which is more optimistic in this regard, announced 3-4 percent growth for the same period.
Russia: US Sanctions Helped Import Substitution And Reduce Foreign Debt
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov stated that although the US sanctions do some damage to the Russian economy, they encourage import substitution in the country and reduce dependency on foreign debt twofold.
Speaking at the opening session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the moderator asked Belousov, “How did the US sanctions affect the Russian economy, and did it encourage Russia to turn to the East?” and he answered with “We have always been implementing a multi-vector foreign policy, at least for the last 10 years. We don’t have a problem with heading east, because we’ve always been looking east. The coat of arms of the Russian Federation, the two-headed eagle, is not a symbol that appeared today, yesterday, or even the day before.”
“Of course, the American sanctions did some damage, but it created two trends,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and continued his words as follows:
“The first trend is that we have created a reserve in all the most important areas of the Russian economy. This applies to both industry and agriculture. In agriculture, we almost entirely meet our own needs. The second trend is that we have greatly reduced our external debt, which also applies to corporate debt. Currently, Russia‘s dependence on foreign debt is about two times lower than it was in 2014.”
“There was a situation recently where our gold and foreign currency reserves exceeded Russia‘s total foreign debt,” Belousov said. Therefore, there is a great interest in us. It is not a coincidence that the United States is the largest delegation after Qatar at the St. Petersburg Forum today. This is an indicator.”