Putin tells Russia’s billionaires to step up in face of ‘sanctions war’

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s billionaires to step up in the face of what he called a “sanctions war” from the West, during an annual meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

CNN reported that Putin blamed Russia’s recent drop in GDP on mounting sanctions over its yearlong war on neighboring Ukraine, telling Russia’s business elites that “these problems… were not created by us.”

“It was 4.7% (GDP drop) for well-known reasons, as you know — the sanctions war, the unprecedented challenges from the global economy and in the system of international relations,” Putin said, per CNN,

A number of Russian businesspeople, oligarchs, officials and financial institutions have been hit with sanctions from the U.S. and other Western nations since the start of the war.

The Russian president called on the audience, while included a number of prominent billionaire oligarchs, to invest on their home turf to help boost the country’s economy.

“A responsible entrepreneur is a real citizen of Russia, of his country, a citizen who understands and acts in its interests,” Putin said, as reported by Reuters. “He does not hide assets offshore, but registers companies here, in our country, and does not become dependent on foreign authorities.”

Both outlets noted it’s Putin’s first in-person meeting with the top business leaders since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

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