Putin says wants to push Russia into top five economies

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for his annual press conference in Moscow on December 20, 2018. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he wants to see his country’s economy in the world’s top five.

“The main thing is that we need to get into a new league economically,” Putin told his annual press conference, adding: “We could very well take the fifth place in terms of size of economy. And I think we’ll do that.”

Russia is currently ranked 12th in the world pecking order by the International Monetary Fund, with economic output worth some $1.5 trillion. The IMF list is led by the United States followed by China, Japan, Germany and with Britain in fifth place.

Russia needs a “breakthrough, we need a leap in terms of technological innovation; without that, our country has no future,” Putin said.

He listed some positive factors, including predicted 1.8 percent growth over the year, as well as “small growth in real incomes”.

He said Russia has an “acceptable” level of inflation, while seeing a short-lived period of higher inflation early next year due to a rise in VAT from 18 to 20 percent that takes effect on January 1.

© Agence France-Presse