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Putin: Choosing between sovereignty and investments, Russia will choose independence

May 25, 2018, 18:32 UTC+3

Russia needs good relations with Europe, Putin noted

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/.Russia needs good relations with the European Union, the United States and the entire world but choosing between investments and sovereignty, Russia chooses independence, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2018) on Friday.

"In order to attract the capital of companies and countries friendly to us, we need good relations with Europe, with the entire world and with the United States. We understand this well and are aware of that," the Russian leader said.

"But if we have to face the choice: either we exist as a sovereign state or some restrictions are imposed on us, we, of course, choose the former because too incomparable substances are put on the scales: either existence as an independent state or some investments in the form of handouts," Putin said.

The 4.4% fixed capital investment growth compared with the 1.5% GDP expansion is a good, although insufficient indicator, the Russian president said.

As Putin stressed, Russia is seeking the return or the development of the new rules of the game in the sphere of security and in the sphere of world economic policy with the help of the established international institutions that need to be developed. At the same time, the country’s national interests are aimed at increasing labor productivity and creating conditions for attracting investments.

"On this basis, we want to solve the following task: to diversify our economy and make it innovative, we want to work on artificial intelligence, on robotics," he added, noting that the fear of the loss of jobs over robots was exaggerated.

Putin cited expert data, pursuant to which only 5% of workplaces could be fully robotized in the world and only 10% of this amount had been switched to the automated mode today.

"So, there are big prospects for our economy and for the world economy," Putin said.

"Of course, on this basis, we want to solve the main task: we want to improve the life of our people, we want to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line and we want to ensure that life expectancy as the basic indicator of well-being increases to 78 years by 2024 and to 80+ by 2030.

Favorable external conditions are needed for these plans and Putin pledged "to seek in every possible way" their emergence, without forgetting that "we cannot sacrifice our sovereignty and our profound, fundamental interests."

"I hope this balance between Russia and our partners will be found," Putin said.

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