Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin defended plans to bolster social spending to stave off Occupy protests.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin increased social spending today, telling global corporate chiefs Russia’s new budget would help stave off worldwide Occupy protests over the weekend.
After demonstrators rallied against injustice and the economic crisis around the world at the weekend, Putin said double-digit increases in social spending that he approved would prevent similar unrest in Russia.
The Russian Finance Ministry projections indicate social spending—which accounts for about one-third of Russian federal budget expenditure—will increase by 20.4% in 2012 to 3.8 roubles ($123 billion) according to Finance Ministry projections.
Hundreds of thousands of people—not just a bunch of outcasts but hundreds of thousands—are coming out onto the streets to demand what their governments are unable to fulfill, stated Putin told approximately 20 global CEOs, which included BP’s Robert Dudley and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi.
He added We will by all means fulfill all our social obligations before the Russian people. We will act in the similar way further down the road, Putin said in his first public comments on the rapidly spreading Occupy movement. Opinion polls show Putin is Russia’s most popular politician and is almost certain to win the 2012 election.
Putin’s comments indicate the Kremlin may spend its oil money to soothe tension in a society which boasts the world’s third-largest group of billionaires, after the United States and China.
Putin long criticized Wall Street excesses and called the United States parasitic for printing too many dollars. He is keen to garner domestic support prior to the March 2012 election, during which he will run for president. As Russia’s president in 2000-2008, Putin tried to counter investor concerns that his return to the Kremlin will usher in a period of stagnation that puts the fiscal stability of the world’s biggest energy producer at risk.
He repeated forecasts made to an investor conference this month. He said he expects economic growth of more than 4% and that fiscal stability is guaranteed no matter how bad the debt crisis in the Euro zone.
During the last economic crisis in 2009, Russia’s economy decreased by 7.8%. Putin took charge of efforts to spend tens of billions of dollars of state money to defend domestic manufacturers and bail out indebted tycoons. Most Russians believe the biggest robbers are the tycoons who amassed vast fortunes after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
While violence flared in Rome and thousands continued to protest in New York’s Times Square this weekend, Russia had no major protests.
Mad Mike’s America thanks Reuters, Alexei Anishchuk, Guy Faulconbridge, and Maria Golovnina.
Despite socio-political problems in Russia, is Putin’s economic plan reasonable?