President Putin: "Russia has become richer"

Economic growth in 2002 is expected to exceed the projected 3.5 percent and will possibly reach "four-odd percent". President Vladimir Putin said as much live on the radio in reply to the first question asked by TV presenters Yekaterina Andreyeva and Sergei Brilev.

Summing up the results of the outgoing year, the president also said that the growth of Russians' real incomes amounted to 8 percent as compared with the 6 percent increase. Economic indices show that the level projected in the beginning of the year has been exceeded today, the head of state remarked.

In his words, "one can confidently say that the country has become richer."

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