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Putin Seeks to Calm Russians' Economic Fears as Vote Nears

  • President holds annual `direct line' phone-in with people
  • Prices, wages, social questions are top issues, Kremlin says
Bloomberg business news

Putin Pressed on Prices, Wages, Economy in Annual Call-In

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President Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the economy will resume growth next year in his annual call-in show Thursday, using the Kremlin-controlled exercise to shore up his support as the country’s longest economic downturn in two decades pushes more people into poverty.

“The situation hasn’t been resolved yet but the trend is positive,” Putin said, pointing to forecasts that the economy will contract by 0.3 percent this year and expand by 1.4 percent in 2017. “We have ground for optimism.”