MOSCOW, March 23, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Russia's economy will have finished adapting to Western sanctions by 2024, Moscow's prime minister said Thursday, saying that his country had survived the international attempts to isolate it.
After the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine last year, Moscow's economy was hit with a flurry of sanctions and the exit of major Western companies -- as well as the departure of thousands of educated Russian professionals.
In a speech to the Russian parliament, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin acknowledged the damages from the sanctions but vowed a quick recovery.
"Let's be realistic, the outside pressure on Russia is not weakening," he said.
"But we still expect that the adaptation period will end in 2024 already. Russia will embark on the path of long-term progressive development," he said.
Mishustin spoke a day after President Vladimir Putin hosted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow for a meeting that highlighted their growing economic ties and a united front against the West.
Mishustin welcomed "strengthening cooperation with friendly countries, with those who share our views and values".
Echoing comments by Putin, Mishustin said the West's sanctions, "unmatched in recent history", were aimed at ordinary Russians.
"Russian people were the target," Mishustin told the Duma deputies, "but we survived".
According to the Rosstat national statistics agency, Russia's economy contracted 2.1 percent last year.
The International Monetary Fund expects a slight increase of 0.3 percent this year.
Appointed in 2020, Mishustin said his government's priorities were to "give our soldiers all necessary help" and "improve the welfare of citizens".
He added that the Russian minimum wage, currently 16,242 rubles a month (around $215), would be raised by 18.5 percent -- above current inflation rates -- from next January.