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Putin Takes Questions: More Economy, Less Ukraine

Putin Takes Questions: More Economy, Less Ukraine

MOSCOW — Sounding at times like a mayor promising to fix potholes and close noisy bars, President Vladimir V. Putin used his annual national call-in show on Thursday to try to reassure Russians that the country’s economic troubles were under control and that he shared their concerns on pocketbook issues.

If his marathon session in 2014 trumpeted the annexation of Crimea and issues of national pride, this year Mr. Putin fielded questions from across Russia on issues like dairy cow production, small-business loans and the rising price of car insurance.

Mr. Putin tried to paint an overall rosy picture of the economy, noting that the ruble had stabilized and strengthened even if inflation was over 11 percent. (Trading for as low as 80 to the dollar in December and volatile all winter, the ruble has risen to about 50; it was at 34 a year ago.)

“Experts see that we have passed the peak of the problems,” he said. “Nothing burst and everything works.”
Mr. Putin promised to help dairy farmers get better distribution and prices for their milk; told unpaid workers at the new national space launch center that they would receive back pay; and vowed not to lower public wages nationally even if his economic advisers pressed.

Read More:Putin Takes Questions: More Economy, Less Ukraine – NYTimes.com.

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