MOSCOW, February 26 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s economy depends too much on incomes from oil and gas sales, and it must be reformed if Russia wants to remain competitive in the present-day world, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Brazilian Globo television.
He stressed that Russia really depends “to a high extent on exports of oil and gas. This is not a critical situation, but it is very difficult for us”.
“Slightly less than 50 percent of state budget income come at the moment from oil and gas supplies – this is a too high level of dependency,” the prime minister stressed.
“Let us recall what happened in 2008: oil prices slumped and we immediately began feeling problems with budget revenues, and we had to partially cut a set of expenses. We did not sacrifice social guarantees, but we still had to close a number of programs,” Medvedev said.
He stressed that it is vitally important for Russia to diversify its economy away from this dependency, to have at least no more than one fourth of revenues from oil and gas exports.
“Yes, we are a rich country, we have a lot of mineral resources, a lot of oil and gas, we have a good education system and highly-intellectual specialists, but unfortunately at some point we lost the role of leader in many sectors. We do remain leaders in some sectors, for example in space and atomic industry, while it is not so in some others, and we must bridge this gap, try to catch up with the leaders to be competitive,” he stressed.
“Competitiveness is a major driver in the development of the present-day world and we must be competitive, and it is only with this in view that I speak about a need for modernization. This is not the desire to keep changing something all the time, this is not an eternal reforming when there is no ultimate target, but this is an advance to this goal,” he stressed.
“We must try to achieve a high level of competitiveness on all directions. This is the idea of modernization and I keep doing this as consistently as when I was president of the country,” Medvedev emphasized.