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Putin Calls For Diversification Of Economy

14 June 2005 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today said Russia needs to diversify its economy and not depend so much on oil and natural gas exports.

Putin cautioned against too much state involvement in business but said it was necessary to develop other economic areas to avoid being simply a supplier of raw materials.

"Today, Russia is a powerful exporter of raw materials and this is our colossal natural competitive advantage. Besides, the extraction and reprocessing of raw materials can become a high-technology industry. However, the efficient use of natural resources is far from being a sufficient condition for sustainable economic growth and can even divert attention from achieving key development goals," Putin said.

Putin's comments followed warnings from experts that Russia's high level of dependence on oil and gas threatens stability.

Putin recommended putting a new emphasis on building a competitive technological sector saying "it is countries that are capable of developing high technology that win."