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Putin: Twin Economic Goals Are Realistic

January 12, 2004

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday his twin goals of doubling the gross domestic product and holding down inflation are realistic and said success should help improve the lives of ordinary Russians.

``All this is being done for the sole purpose of resolving social problems,″ Putin was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying during a meeting with government ministers in the Kremlin.

Putin called last year for the doubling of Russia’s GDP within a decade. The Russian economy has grown steadily for the past few years, buoyed by the high price of oil, the country’s main export commodity.

``It is becoming more and more apparent that this goal is attainable,″ Putin said, according to the Interfax news agency. But he warned that the ``tempo must not slacken.″

Putin also instructed the government to hold inflation at 10 percent this year. Last year, inflation was 12 percent _ falling within the government’s target range for the first time since 1997. Putin called the target for this year ``objective and realistic.″

Some analysts have warned that the past few years of solid economic growth have allowed the government to shirk much-needed structural economic reforms. They say that the Russian economy remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the world price of oil.

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