Russian President Vladimir Putin urges officials to act as inflation rises

In this pool photograph distributed by Sputnik agency, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on economic issues via video link at The Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on November 1, 2023. (Photo by Gavriil GRIGOROV / POOL / AFP)

MOSCOW, Nov 1, 2023 (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for officials to act on high inflation, as he warned the economy faced increased pressure from Western sanctions.

Inflation has remained stubbornly high in Russia, ticking upwards as the economy grapples with a weaker ruble and rising military spending on the offensive in Ukraine.

“I once again draw the attention of the government and the Bank of Russia to the importance of effective, coordinated action to reduce inflation,” Putin said in a televised meeting.

“It directly affects the well-being of Russian families and our citizens,” he said.

He also warned that sanctions pressure from Western countries would increase, and that the government needed to prepare for this.

“Our partners are now taking their fantasies to the absurd, banning the import of screwdrivers, needles and so on into Russia,” Putin said.

“But the less junk, the better. There is less chance that bed bugs will be exported to us from major European megacities,” he said, alluding to fears about the insect in European countries.

While Moscow defied early predictions that its economy would suffer near collapse from Western sanctions, the offensive in Ukraine has still put massive strain on its economy.

The Russian central bank raised its key interest rate last week to a higher-than-expected 15 percent, as it warned inflation was well above its target of 4 percent.

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