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Medvedev says global crisis not yet over, but lessons learnt


MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - The global economic crisis has not been resolved, but it has prompted Russia to work harder to diversify its economy to avoid similar developments in the future, the Russian president said.

"Unfortunately, we cannot say yet that all the difficulties have been overcome. I believe this is true of the global economy and all national economies," Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).

He said that despite recent successes in the economy's modernization, Russia has failed to resolve certain problems. The country has continued to depend on key raw material exports, and the national banking system is still underdeveloped and vulnerable to speculative capital flows.

As a result, Russia's economy is expected to shrink in 2009. "So far, we are speaking about a 6% decline, but the situation may turn out differently."

Medvedev said the number of officially registered unemployed stands at over 2 million people, while the real number could be closer to 6 million.

The Russian government has set out an anti-crisis program to prop up the real sector of the economy and particular enterprises, and reduce unemployment, Medvedev said, adding that raising living standards remained a top priority.

Medvedev, who has focused on anti-corruption measures during his first year in office, said that the struggle against corruption was only at the initial stage but that the level could be reduced significantly.

"Corruption is a social evil, and unfortunately a very serious one for Russia. Although corruption can be found in any country, it is a major problem for us. That is why it is necessary to fight it with the help of systemic measures," involving changes to laws, he said.

On international issues, Medvedev said Russia was ready to resume dialogue with Georgia after a new leadership comes to power in the South Caucasus country, and that Russia's attitude to the current Georgian regime remains unchanged.

"We believe that this political regime has committed a crime, and that we have nothing in common with it. At the same time, after the elections which will be held in Georgia sooner or later, we are ready to return to discussions of various issues, if the Georgian people elect a new leadership capable of holding a friendly dialogue with Russia and the closest neighbors of the Georgian state - Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states after last August's five-day war with Georgia, which launched a military offensive on South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Medvedev said that Russia and China, which had strategic partnership relations, had prepared "good, serious" energy agreements and were also working on several major joint economic projects.

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