Washington, Oct. 2 (RFE/RL) - Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Potanin says Moscow continues to persevere with its economic stabilization and reform programs, but is still having a difficult time with "tax collection, servicing domestic debt and supporting the social sphere."
In remarks prepared for the annual meetings of the International Monetary fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Potanin says the government has adopted a package of measures worked out with the fund and bank to deal with the problems, but says the "root causes of many (of) Russia's financial difficulties are related to the continuing economic downfall and, in particular, the profound investment crisis."
Potanin says while the economic stabilization measures have been necessary and successful in dramatically cutting inflation and reducing the budget deficit, they have also resulted in "a sharp deterioration of the social indicators."
He says Russia is "very close" to resuming growth but needs continued assistance from the bank and fund for building the social safety net while pushing ahead with structural reforms as an "essential condition" for balanced growth of the economy.
IMF officials say that Potanin is not currently scheduled to read his remarks to the annual meetings, so the Russian delegation chose to release the printed version.