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Putin says public sector’s current share in the economy is balanced

As far as the prevalent theory that the government cannot be an effective owner by definition goes, the Russian president dismissed this belief as utterly groundless

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. The current share of the public sector in the Russian economy is quite reasonable at the moment, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out.

"I believe that on the whole, we have managed to find the balance," Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin." He recalled that less than half of the country’s 20 largest companies were partly state-owned.

"The question is not whether they are private or public. The question is how they work. If they are effective, profitable, and generate public revenues, then the question is whether privatization should be the overall goal at all," he said, adding that such partly state-owned giants as Rosneft, Gazprom, Tatneft and Sberbank were Russia’s largest taxpayers.

As an example of unsuccessful privatization, Putin shed light on the situation in Canada, when the government sold its railways to private US owners.

"The Canadians have come to regret it. Here we need to be very careful and take calculated decisions," he stated.

Putin disagreed with speculations the state had stepped up its involvement in the economy lately.

"This is not true. There are different assessments regarding the state's involvement in the economy. They vary. Some judge that the state's intervention in the economy is excessive, others believe it is not. Different methodologies lead to discrepant results," he said.

Public sector’s effectiveness

As far as the prevalent theory that the government cannot be an effective owner by definition goes, Putin dismissed this belief as utterly groundless. He advised against applying a "generalized approach" and called for looking "into the way a particular business operates."

"A generalized approach here is as useless as calculating the average body temperature of all the patients in a hospital," he said. "While the generalized approach might be correct, as a methodology, we should take and examine each particular case."

Putin also said he sees nothing wrong in re-privatization, that is the privatization of assets once privately owned and subsequently nationalized. He acknowledged that opinions on that score varied. The head of state, he said, does his utmost to heed and take into account all of them.

Episode 13 of the video interview is available at