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Russia unprepared to follow Singapore’s development model — official

March 24, 2015, 18:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov says Russiam has a highly democratic society in comparison with Singapore

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Skyline along the Singapore river, in Singapore

Skyline along the Singapore river, in Singapore

© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

MOSCOW, March 24. The Russian society is unprepared to follow Singapore’s development model, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Tuesday.

"We’re a highly democratic society in comparison with such a society as Singapore. You all refer to the remarkable experience of Singapore and look at what they have lived through in the past 50 years," Shuvalov said at a meeting of Russia’s Civic Chamber.

"They have in general lived through an outstanding history. But is our society ready for such strictest rules of behavior and such restrictive norms? I believe the answer will be very simple during the next parliamentary or presidential elections. This is because we’re hardly ready for such a tight framework," Shuvalov said.

Other countries can learn a lot from Singapore but the city-state has many hidden problems, the first vice-premier said.

"They have outstanding experience and have achieved high results. These are even outstanding rather than high results. Is it possible for the Russian Federation to achieve no less outstanding results? The answer is yes but not quite in the same way," the first deputy prime minister said.

The talk about using Singapore’s "economic miracle" experience restarted after the city-state’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who is credited with transforming Singapore into an economic and financial powerhouse, died early on Monday at the age of 91 and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday Lee Kuan Yew who had been familiar with Putin called his economic policy "excessively liberal."

"Lee Kuan Yew made visits to Moscow and gave his assessment of President Putin’s economic policy," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Lee Kuan Yew said "from my viewpoint, Putin pursues an excessively liberal policy," the Kremlin spokesman said, adding this was a notable statement to hear from such a reformer as Lee Kuan Yew.

Putin communicated with Lee several times. The Russian president highly valued this experience of communication and generally Lee Kuan Yew’s experience in economic reform implementation, the Kremlin spokesman said.

In his condolences, the Russian president praised Singapore’s achievements made in the social, economic, scientific and technical fields under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, the Kremlin press office said.

"Over the decades of his work in the post of the prime minister and other government posts, he won the sincere love and respect of his compatriots, and also the highest international respect," Putin said in his message.

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