Putin promises Russia `new economy` after protests

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 00:15

Moscow: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
promised on Monday to build a "new economy" in Russia as he
admitted its prosperity was still held back by a litany of
ills despite his 12-year domination of the country.

In a bid to show he remains Russia`s best hope for
economic stability after a wave of protests, Putin admitted
the country faced "systemic" corruption, an "unsatisfactory"
business climate and an "inadmissible" dependence on energy
exports.

Putin`s pledges came in an article for business daily
Vedomosti, the latest in a series of wordy tracts setting out
his vision for Russia ahead of the March 4 presidential poll
where he plans to win a third Kremlin term.

"To have an economy that neither guarantees us stability,
sovereignty or well-being is inadmissible for Russia," said
Putin.

"We need a new economy with competitive industry and
infrastructure, with a developed services sector, with
effective agriculture," Putin added.

He appeared to acknowledge the failure of the
much-heralded modernisation programme of his protege President
Dmitry Medvedev, who Putin plans to succeed as Kremlin chief
after his four-year stint as prime minister.

"On the initiative of President Medvedev in the last years
we embarked on a number of reforms aimed at improving the
business climate. There has been no noticeable breakthrough so
far," he said.

Putin painted a stark picture of the corruption that has
sprouted in Russia in the last years and left it a lowly 143
on the latest anti-corruption index published by watchdog
Transparency International.

"The costs (of bribes) for a business vary -- you pay more
or less depending on how well disposed certain people within
the state mechanism are towards you," said Putin.

Vedomosti, one of Russia`s few newspapers to have been
consistently critical of Putin, printed his article in full
but lambasted him in an accompanying commentary for failing to
make clear how the reforms will be implemented.

"The word `must` is used in the text 32 times, the word
`will` 19 times, `need` 17 times and `necessary` 11 times,"
said Vedomosti.

"But who is it that `must`? And what has he (Putin) been
doing all these last years?" it asked.

It said Putin failed to understand that major economic
change was impossible without political reform. "For Putin,
the economy is still a boring chapter in a textbook that is
strictly kept separate from the `politics` chapter."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 00:15

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