On March 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting devoted to measures of socio-economic support for Russia's constituent entities.
"We are meeting at a difficult time when our Armed Forces are conducting the special military operation in Ukraine and Donbas. At the very beginning, in the early morning of February 24, I publicly named the reasons and goals of the actions of the Russian Federation: to help people in the Donbas, who have been subjected to real genocide through most barbaric methods — blockades, terrorist attacks, shelling. For no reason. Only for their efforts to strive for elementary human rights: to speak their native language, to raise their people the way they want," Putin said during the meeting.
At the very beginning of Operation Z, the Kiev authorities, through various channels, were asked not to engage in battles, but to withdraw troops from the Donbass in order to avoid bloodshed. They did not want to, Putin said.
The operation is going according to plan. The Russian military men show heroism and effectively fulfill their its tasks, he added.
He then addressed to Western citizens:
"I want ordinary Western citizens to hear me. They are trying to convince you that your difficulties come as a result of Russia's hostile actions, that you need to pay for them from your own wallet. This is a lie. The current difficulties that people in the West are currently facing come as a result of the actions taken by Western elites," Putin said.
"All the verbal bling about political correctness, inviolability of private property, freedom of speech — everything vanished overnight. Even Olympic principles were trampled on, they did not hesitate to settle accounts with Paralympic athletes. In many countries, people are deprived of their rights just because they are Russians, they are denied medical care, education. The West has torn off all the masks," Putin said.
Having frozen the Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves, the US and the EU have actually declared a default on their obligations to Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting devoted to measures of socio-economic support for Russia's constituent entities.
"Illegitimate actions to freeze part of foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia draw a line under the reliability of so-called first-class assets. In fact, both the US and the EU have declared a real default on their obligations to Russia," Putin stressed.
Earlier, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov made a similar statement, when he said that the West had blocked about 50 percent of gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia.
Siluanov also said that Russia was still going to fulfill its public debt obligations denominated in foreign currency through ruble payments. According to Siluanov, the need for creditors to convert the Russian currency will cause them to unblock the assets of the Russian Central Bank.
The Russian economy will have to undergo structural changes under the conditions of the new reality. The new changes will lead to rising unemployment and higher inflation rate, President Vladimir Putin said. The government will have to work to minimize such consequences, he added, RIA Novosti reports.
In the near future, according to Putin, decisions will be made to raise pensions, social benefits and the cost of living.
Putin also proposed to expand support for the people who have lost their jobs.
Additional consumer demand exceeded 1 trillion rubles in three weeks, but manufacturers and suppliers did everything to avoid shortages, he added.
Putin also said that in the future one may expect "attempts to increase pressure” on Russia. According to his estimates, an economic blitzkrieg against Russia has failed. According to Putin, the Russian economy will adapt itself to the new reality.
Putin also spoke about the fifth column:
"The West relies on the fifth column, national traitors, who are mentally located there, in the West, but not in Russia. The West is trying to split our society, speculating on combat losses and the consequences of sanctions. The people will be able to distinguish patriots from bastards and traitors, they will simply spit them out like a midge that has flown into the mouth. The natural self-purification of the society will strengthen our country."
Putin also made a number of statements about the crisis in Ukraine and in the Russian economy: