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June 10th, 2007
Russia's economy has boomed under President Putin. What changes do you foresee from your discussions with business leaders when there is a change in leadership?
With the perspective, one would say that, from an economic point of view, Putin's program has been directed to stabilization and restoring growth -- and restoring the state. The economic results, as we heard at St. Petersburg, would never have been anticipated by either optimists or pessimists when he came to power. As a prominent American international financial figure put it when we were talking as the conference ended, "No one could have thought in 2000 that this was possible." Putin's two most likely successors each scoped out at the conference the future emphasis from their current portfolios. First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov pointed to aviation, shipbuilding, information technology, nanotechnology, space and nuclear power. The Russian government is consolidating those sectors to make them internationally competitive. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev pointed to the "national projects" for which he's responsible -- spending on human capital, and reconstruction in health, education, housing, agriculture.
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