Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s billionaires at an annual meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs to act against what he called a “war of sanctions” from the West.
CNN reported that Putin blamed Russia’s recent decline in GDP on increasing sanctions over years of war against neighboring Ukraine, telling Russian business elites that “these problems…were not our fault.”
“It was 4.7% (GDP drop) for well-known reasons, as you know: the sanctions war, the unprecedented challenges of the world economy and in the system of international relations,” Putin told CNN.
A number of Russian businessmen, oligarchs, officials and financial institutions have been hit by sanctions from the US and other Western countries since the start of the war.
The Russian president called on the public, including a number of prominent billionaire oligarchs, to invest in their own countries to boost the country’s economy.
“A responsible entrepreneur is a real citizen of Russia, of his country, a citizen who understands and acts on his interests,” Putin said, as reported by Reuters. “He does not hide assets offshore, but registers companies here, in our country, and does not become dependent on foreign authorities.”
Both outlets noted that it is Putin’s first face-to-face meeting with top business leaders since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
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