STAVROPOL, January 25. /TASS/. The basics of functioning of the Russian economy makes it possible to express moderate optimism about its future, President Vladimir Putin said at an interregional forum on Monday.
"The fundamental, basic indicators of functioning of the economy enable us to show moderate optimism," Putin said. According to him, the budget deficit in Russia turned to be "less than it was expected" and the trade balance surplus remains and there are big reserves related to the small public debt.
According to Putin, freedom of enterprise should be promoted and the economy should get rid of corruption and nepotism.
"We should act very prudently, on the basis of our realities," the president said. "We need to expand freedoms of economy and free the economy from corruption and dominance of various kinds of nepotism," he added.
Russia need to look for internal resources for development in conditions of economic instability related to oil prices, Putin said. "We have enough of them," he added.
The president stressed that the main task of the Russian authorities in the current economic environment is to maintain decent living standards for people.
"Of course, we need to closely follow the issue to ensure decent living standards for people," Putin said answering a question on the correlation between inflation and indexation of payments. According to him, in the current economic climate "this is the most important thing that should be in the limelight of all levels of government."
"We are all aware of the national currency exchange rates, we are all aware of inflation… According to the final estimates, it will be even a little less, in my opinion, than previously thought. But the indexation [of payments], especially for pensioners, must be maintained in accordance with the decisions taken and the law," Putin said.
The president also urged the government to be careful in using its reserve funds in the current situation including for the fulfillment of social obligations.
At the same time, he pointed out that the existing difficulties also provide for some opportunities, not only for the agriculture but also for industries.
"By the way, we have a decline of 3.3 % in industry and an increase of almost 3% in agriculture. But industry will sure see some growth," - Putin said. He added that import substitution measures should contribute to this.
Putin said that that the relevant programs are designed not only to substitute "by all means and at any cost something we lack," but to develop innovative technologies, not only in the defense industry.