MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Russia should focus on finding new horizons of development and not on sanctions, President Vladimir Putin said at his annual question and answer session officially known as Direct Line with Vladimir Putin.
"It's not directly linked to the events in Ukraine, it's important to implement the Minsk agreement. We are doing it, Kiev is not rushing to do it. It's not about sanctions now, it's up to us, within the country, in our own home, to find new, more sophisticated methods of management in our economy".
Putin said that Russia should not tolerate sanctions, but rather use this environment to find new horizons of development.
The Russian leader said that Russia is not afraid of any threats amid the current consolidation of the society.
"There are many threats that we cannot forecast," Putin said. "But if we preserve the stable domestic political environment and keep this consolidation of society that we are observing, then we are not afraid of any threats," he said.
Economic and sports records set in Russia last year
Last year, Russia managed to set both economic and sports records, President Vladimir Putin said referring to amounts of oil production and housing construction among others.
The year 2014 saw not only foreign economic pressure on the country but also accession of Crimea, as well as "successful and victorious" Olympic Games in Sochi, the president said at a live Q&A session on Thursday.
Despite foreign pressure, "the rouble is strengthening, and stock markets are growing," he stated. The country has managed to avoid widening of inflationary spiral, real GDP grew 0.6% "This is a modest growth, but still a growth," Putin said.
He said industrial production had grown 1.7%, while processing industry saw a 2.1% growth. A new record of oil production was reached with 525 million tons produced last year, Putin added.
Last year’s grain harvest was "one of the richest and highest in our modern history - 105.3 million tons," he said, adding that the agricultural sector had performed very well, demonstrating a 3.7% growth. Putin said the sector continued growing in the first quarter of this year.
Putin admitted problems persisting in the Russian economy, including a decline in fixed capital investment, which "sagged" 2.5% last year. However, record figures were achieved in the housing construction sector with 82 million square meters of housing built last year.
The president said the country managed to avoid a surge in unemployment, which has now reached 5.8% "We have managed to check this growth," Putin stated.
Prices in the consumer sector grew 11.4% last year, "which is no good as this affects living standards of the population," Putin said. Inflation growth rate dropped three times in March of this year, he added.
Real disposable household income of the population declined by one percent last year, while salaries grew 1.3%, Putin said.
Putin also reminded the audience about indexation of pensions. "However, economic uncertainty has also triggered capital outflow," he stated. "We should also bear this in mind," the president said, noting that he saw "nothing catastrophic in that".