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Russian Official Says Economy Needs Reforms To Grow

Former Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin says the Russian economy will grow only if the government initiates serious reforms.

Kudrin, the deputy chairman of Russia's Presidential Economic Council, said the country's economy will remain at "the bottom" without real structural reforms.

Kudrin made his comments on May 21 on the News On Saturday television program.

"We can say that 'the bottom' [for the Russian economy] has already passed," he said, but added that the improvement in the economy -- which has been rocked by low oil prices, Western-led sanctions, and a weak currency -- has thus far been minimal.

Kudrin stressed that the Russian government needs to take some "decisive" action regarding the economy.

"We postpone important reforms -- [and] this will also serve as a postponement of [our] economic growth," he said.

President Vladimir Putin said on May 20 that Russia had passed "the bottom" of the severe recession it experienced in 2015 when the economy contracted, inflation and unemployment increased, and budget deficits emerged.

Russia's GDP fell by 3.7 percent in 2015.

Officials expect the GDP to decrease by 0.2 percent in 2016 with the economy first showing growth next year.

Based on reporting by TASS