President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that no iron curtain would fall on the Russian economy despite the sanctions imposed by the West because Moscow will not shut itself off from the world, as the Soviet Union did.
The sanctions imposed on the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have tipped Russia, one of the world’s largest producers of natural resources, against the biggest economic downturn since the years following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Asked about possible agreements with partners such as China and India in the midst of the “closure” of Russia’s economy, Putin said, speaking ahead of next week’s st. Petersburg Economic Forum that Russia’s economy would remain open.
“We do not want a closed economy, we have not had one, and we do not want one,” Putin told young entrepreneurs at a televised meeting.
“We did not have a closed economy – or rather we had in Soviet times, where we cut ourselves off, created the so-called iron curtain, we created it with our own hands. We will not make the same mistake again – our economy will be open. “
Putin, who was born in the Soviet Union, in 2005 considered the collapse of the USSR to be the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century because tens of thousands of Russians were poor and Russia itself was facing dissolution.
After major US and European companies and investors left Russia, Moscow says it will turn away from the West and focus on developing its own domestic industry and developing partnerships with China, India and powers in the Middle East.
“A country like Russia cannot be fenced in,” Putin said.
Russia’s invasion on February 24 has killed thousands, displaced 13 million and created fears of a broader conflict between the United States and Russia, the world’s largest nuclear powers by far.
Putin says the West wants to destroy Russia, that economic sanctions are akin to an economic declaration of war. Ukraine says it is fighting an imperialist land grab and that it will never accept Russian occupation.