Putin: main difficulties are posed by degradation of state institutions and economic problems

President Vladimir Putin considers that the main difficulties he has been faced with as the head of state since 2000 are caused by the degradation of the state institutions and economic problems.

"The first and the most important problem is the degradation of state institutions and economic problems which caused serious social tensions in our society," the president said in an interview with the Egyptian Al Ahram daily before his visit to Egypt scheduled for April 26-27.

The head of state stressed that much of what needed to be solved has been solved, but not as rapidly as he would like it to be.

Putin considers that the favorable foreign economic situation is not the only cause of Russia's economic growth.

"The first and the most important cause of Russia's economic growth is a stable political situation in the country and support by the people of Russia for the reforms carried out by the president and the government," Putin said.

He recalled that during the past five years the annual GDP growth in Russia has been 6.5-7%.

"The positive effect, which facilitates the efforts taken by the Russian leadership, is, of course, also the favorable foreign economic situation... I would like to name yet another [factor]... I consider that it is a purposeful and sufficiently balanced social policy aimed at a gradual but steady increase in the population's incomes," the president said.

He noted that all these years there has been a budget surplus and a surplus in foreign trade - the gold and currency reserves of the Central Bank have been growing and have already exceeded such reserves of the Soviet Union.

President Putin assured that the Russian leadership "is not dizzy with success." "We still are faced with a good deal of unresolved problems, and we will keep on working calmly though hard and steadily," he concluded.

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