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Russia's economy moves back to positive zone of growth — IMF Chief

According to Christine Lagarde, the IMF highly appreciates the steps the Russian authorities took during the rocky financial and economic conditions of recent years
Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde EPA/CLEMENS BILAN
Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde

WASHINGTON, April 17. /TASS/. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) proceeds from the fact that the Russian economy has moved back to positive zones of growth, Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde said in an exclusive interview with TASS.

"We see the Russian economy growing after those few years of difficult times," she said speaking ahead of the spring sessions of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, which are to take place on April 21-23.

According to her, the IMF highly appreciates the steps the Russian authorities took during the rocky financial and economic conditions of recent years.

"When the price of oil went very suddenly, from almost sometimes I think more than $100 per barrel, to a low, $27/$28 per barrel, the response by the Russian economy was very comprehensive. They took the right fiscal measures. They kept inflation under control. They adopted a very good monetary policy, which included the floating of the currency, making sure that the financial sector was stable," she remarked.

"And that helped the country move from a very difficult crisis, where the oil prices divided by four, and the sanctions that applied as a result of the invasion of Crimea, the Russian economy was exposed. But it gradually moved from those negative territories back in 2015/2016, into what we believe is going to be positive territories now in 2017," Lagarde said.

The IMF Managing Director did not specify the organization’s new estimates for Russia, she only said that it concerns the growth of "more than one percent."

As it became known to a TASS correspondent from sources in the IMF, the organization expects the Russian economy to grow by 1.4% per year in 2017 and 2018.

The IMF’s new estimates and forecasts for Russia and the world will be officially made public on Tuesday, April 18.

Huge respect for Russian culture

"As a French National and a lover of literature and music, I have huge respect for Russian culture. Culture, history, and the arts of the country," Lagarde noted.

She pointed out the similarities between French and Russian culture and great influence of the French philosopher and writer Voltaire had on both of them.

Lagarde named Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky among her favorite writers and Sergei Rachmaninoff as one of her favorite composers.

"I’m saying that not to flatter you or to compliment Russia, but I think it’s very much part of the country as it is today, and the aspiration and ambition of its people today. It is fueled and fed by these very deep roots into your culture, and your geography is also equally important, I think, to understand the country, the distance, the richness of resources. All that explains the very complex great nation that Russia is," she said.

In that context the IMF Managing Director also said that she meets Russian President Vladimir Putin "on a regular basis at many of those meetings around the world."

"We have had several very deep and good conversations to understand better the country and its economic policies," she said.

Christine Lagarde has been head of the IMF since July 5, 2011. Last year, she entered her second five-year term at the organization. As the IMF Managing Director Lagarde visited Russia in 2011, after the G20 summit in Cannes. She met with the Russian President more than once at international forums, including the meetings of the G20 leaders.