Press Release: IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler's Statement at the Conclusion of a Visit to Russia
November 14, 2003
"I have had the privilege of meeting His Excellency President Vladimir Putin, Central Bank of Russia Chairman Sergei Ignatiev and several of their colleagues.
"I have come to Russia, an important country that is a member of the Group of Eight, at the invitation of President Putin when we last met at the Evian summit in June, to allow me to continue my personal dialog with the President and the authorities. My visit also comes during a week in which I am traveling to several countries in Central Asia and, thus, offered me the opportunity to exchange views with the President about regional developments, not least about the importance of strengthening regional economic cooperation.
"I have had fruitful discussions: I believe the goal President Putin has set of doubling real GDP in Russia in 10 years is ambitious and one which, if achieved, will bring about a decisive improvement in the living standards of all Russians.
"Russia has this year been a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish global economy and I congratulated the President on the impressive performance of the economy, including the achievement of macroeconomic stability, since the days of economic chaos following the 1998 crisis The recent upgrade of Russia's external debt by Moody's is an expression of increased international confidence in the country.
"There is, however, no room for complacency because growth is still too dependent on oil revenue, vulnerabilities remain, and the road of reform is a long one. Russia needs to stay the course of maintaining macroeconomic stability, while picking up the pace of structural reform. On the macro side, a tightening of fiscal and monetary policy is desirable to limit vulnerability if world oil prices fell and to help Russia meet its target of lower inflation. Faster structural reforms—particularly of the financial sector, natural monopolies, and the civil service and public administration—will contribute to sustained economic growth, including by diversifying the economy.
"Through such policies and reforms—aimed at consolidating macroeconomic stability and strengthening competition, transparency and predictability—Russia should be able to double growth over the next decade."