Russian economy stronger than some EU states: Medvedev

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Russia's economy is stronger than that of many EU countries despite high inflation and the flight of capital, President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

"Overall, our economy is now more homogenous and stronger than the economies of some European Union countries" facing a serious debt crisis, Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

"Russian inflation is under control and even falling and this year will stand at around seven percent, its lowest level," he said during a visit to the southern Urals' Bashkortostan region.

Medvedev said capital flight totalled 64 billion dollars this year but was not the government's "fault" even though analysts say investment is being hampered by corruption, red tape and taxes.

"It's not our fault but it's a calamity that we must absolutely vanquish," he said.

Medvedev said Russia needed to become more aware of its strong points.

"We must push ourselves. I think we need to spend energy and money to make propaganda for the Russian economy, in the positive sense of the word," he said.

Medvedev, who has been president since 2008 and will cede his post to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after a presidential election due in March, is currently campaigning for legislative elections next month.

During his mandate he has tried to push for speedier modernisation of Russia's economy which is being undermined by corruption and its dependence on exports of raw material.

Russia's gross domestic product plunged eight percent in 2009 as oil prices fell due to the global economic and financial crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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