Russian President Vladimir Putin Blames the West for Economic Crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his news conference in Moscow. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin during his news conference in Moscow. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West on Thursday for causing his country’s economic crisis, saying it would take two years to recover.

“Sometimes I think, maybe they’ll (the West) let the bear eat berries and honey in the forest, maybe they will leave it in peace,” Putin said at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, using a metaphor to refer to Russia’s famed symbol. “They will not. Because they will always try to put him on a chain, and as soon as they succeed in doing so they tear out his fangs and his claws.”

Putin’s address comes amid plunging oil prices, sanctions from the West over his actions in eastern Ukraine and a ruble currency that has lost more than half of its value in recent months.

Elected to the presidency for the first time 15 years ago, Putin has presided over significantly raised Russian living standards during his three terms in office. The solid economic growth has been tied to a boom in oil exports.

Now, amid oil prices that have dropped over 40% since June, and as forecasters say Russia’s economy next year will move into recession and inflation may hit 25%, Putin is facing the first real domestic test of his leadership.

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SOURCE: USA Today
Anna Arutunyan and Kim Hjelmgaard

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