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Putin Praises Govt For Stabilization, Demography
Interfax - 4.11.12 - JRL 2012-68

MOSCOW. April 11 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin considers stabilization and the increase of Russia's population the main achievements of the Russian government. Map of Russia
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"I consider stabilization and the increase of Russia's population, which exceeded 143 million people according to the 2011 population census, to be our main achievements. We have not let the crisis stop the positive demographic tendencies," Putin said in his report given in the State Duma on Wednesday.

Speaking about the crisis, Putin reiterated that it was "a colossal challenge," which was much more dangerous that the 1998 crisis.

"If we had not managed to respond to it, not only would out economics and public sector have collapsed, but we would have also called into question the sovereignty and geopolitical security of the country and would have buried all ideas of modernization and development for a long time," Putin said.

Putin thanked Russia's citizens for their "patience and confidence," saying he believes the country has stood the tests thanks to "people's responsibility, social partnership, and civil solidarity."

Going back to the issue of positive tendencies in the demographic sphere, Putin recalled that the population of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk and the city of Perm have exceeded 1 million and the population of Voronezh is expected to exceed 1 million in 2012, which will bring the number of Russia's cities with populations exceeding 1 million people to 15.

"In 2008-2011, over 7 million children were born in Russia. It's one of the highest indicators in the past several decades. Over the past five years, the number of families having a second baby increased by 45% and the number of families having a third and subsequent babies exceeded 62%," Putin said.

Putin reiterated that the government tried to work in such a way during the crisis as to protect the interests of the overwhelming majority of citizens, focusing on the wellbeing of Russian families.

"We have not broken a single obligation stated earlier," Putin said.

Putin admitted that the crisis has become a test for the country and time was lost on some reform projects, adding that "the progress vector" was not lost.

"Yes, we had a considerable decline, but we recuperated much faster than did other countries. We now have the highest economic growth rates in the G8, which are among the highest of the world's largest economies," Putin said.

Putin recalled that the crisis has become chronic in some countries of Europe, causing "a lengthy recession and growing unemployment," and the budget deficit and the bankruptcy of state finances have become "a real killer for countries that are now losing the right to state sovereign decisions."

Putin said that some countries of Europe are losing some elements of sovereignty, "when absolutely sovereign issues are transferred to supernational bodies."

"We have overcome the crisis, avoiding these risks, avoiding the debt trap, and maintaining the stability of the national currency and public sector system," Putin said.