Russian Prime Minister addresses Parliament on 2016 results

 Russian Prime Minister addresses Parliament on 2016 results

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an annual report to the lower house of parliament that 2016 was "the year of realized opportunities".

"The last year was very important for us," he said.

"Two of the largest ratings agencies of the ‘big three’ have changed their forecasts of for the Russian economy from ‘negative’ to ‘stable.’ Another one, S&P, raised it to ‘positive.’ Russia could return to the category of countries with an investment rating," Medvedev said.

Russian Prime Minister noted that Russia’s economy is developing despite conservative expectations.

"The economy is developing despite previous expectations of catastrophe from different places, including from across the ocean. Even those whom it is hard to suspect of liking our country can see progress," the prime minister said.

"They continued to press us with sanctions… And oil was cheap… But we learned to use the situation when we entered into a competitive struggle for leadership on the domestic and foreign markets. Today, no challenges are frightening us, on the contrary — they give us an incentive to develop," Medvedev noted.

Prime Minister is confident that the Reserve fund will not be exhausted in 2017, contrary to some forecasts. "We earned more than planned, including through the mobilization of revenue," he said.

"We manage to keep the budget deficit at an acceptable level. The Reserve Fund is our main source for covering it. In theory, it should have been depleted by the end of this year, but this will not happen," Medvedev said. According to him, there are enough funds.

"We are setting up a system of all budget payments so that it is more efficient," he explained.

Medvedev also said there are no plans to raise taxes this year.

"Several years ago a decision was made to ensure stability of the tax system, which is why there will be no tax increases this year," TASS cited him as saying.

According to Medvedev, the cabinet is also preparing proposals regarding the development of Russia's tax system for the future.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expects tough struggle during the forthcoming presidential election campaign in 2018 but at the same time warns against conflicts and populism.

According to Medvedev, in the 2016 parliamentary election the people voted "for stability and at the same time for development, for enabling us to do our utmost to make their life better". "This is the main political expectation of our society today," he said.

The Prime Minister is certain that it will remain on the agenda during the forthcoming presidential campaign.