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Russia's Finance Minister Predicts Zero Growth

A woman looks at a screen at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) on March 4, 2014.
Russia's finance minister is predicting zero growth for the country's economy in 2014.

Anton Siluanov said at a government meeting on April 15 that Russia's economy faced "the most difficult conditions since the 2008 crisis."

He said GDP growth was estimated at 0.5 percent, but "perhaps it will be around zero."

Siluanov said capital flight in the first three months of this year amounted to $50 billion. He said this was mainly due to geopolitical instability, a reference to Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Siluanov also said that investment in Crimea, the southern Ukraine region Russia occupied and annexed last month, had to be made responsibly.

Russia has promised increases in salaries and pensions for Crimea's residents, as well as massive investments in the region's infrastructure and tourism industry.
Based on reporting by AFP, ITASR-TASS, and Interfax