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Authorities will not cancel free ruble conversion — Medvedev

“Many factors, such as the oil prices and the sanctions, are working against the ruble,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. The Russian ruble will remain a convertible currency, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Gaidar Economic Forum in Moscow on Wednesday, adding that the Central Bank’s current policies were correct.

“The authorities will not cancel the free conversion of the ruble,” he said. “True, it might be possible to freeze the exchange rate and thereby restore the black market of foreign currencies, to give currency to importers upon request depending on arbitrary decisions by this or that official or on friendly relations with them, but all that would mean systematic destruction of the market,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev acknowledged that “many factors, such as the oil prices and the sanctions, are working against the ruble.” The fluctuations of the ruble’s exchange rate were causing harm to companies, banks and ordinary people, he acknowledged.

“Nevertheless, I believe that the Central Bank’s policy at the moment is correct,” Medvedev said. “We are not going to squander the foreign exchange reserves. We have enough economic mechanisms to keep the ruble stable. Moreover, even in the context of an adverse environment we still have a balance of payments surplus, which is the chief fundamental factor for establishing a balanced exchange rate of the national currency,” the prime minister said.

No return to mobilization-type economy

Russia will not return to the mobilization-type economy, Medvedev said at the Gaidar economic forum on Wednesday.

“Russia is not going to isolate itself from the world and change its course towards creating a mobilization-type economy,” the premier said.

“We have covered a gigantic way from the post-Soviet half-destroyed economy to a large Western-type economy and it would be a tremendous mistake to return to the past again, although we are sometimes urged to do this, and give up the role of an active player in the global world,” the premier said.

Abandoning the current course is a step which the state will never make, the premier said.

Russia can guarantee foreign debt repayment

Russia has enough reserves that will guarantee the payment of foreign debts, and is ready to help companies in this, Medvedev told the Gaidar Forum.

“We still have significant reserves which guarantee payments under the state debts and if needed, we can help companies in paying their foreign debts,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev said “sanctions come and go, like their authors,” while business relations, economic interests and the reputation remain.

“Russia will fulfill its international commitments,” Medvedev stressed. “This country is a reliable borrower, a reliable creditor and a reliable supplier,” he said.

Russia has enough reserves to adapt the country’s economy to new conditions amid low prices on energy resources. He said Russia has created a stable foundation to form conditions for a new start — a stable and healthy economic growth.