Russia was already preparing for a war with Georgia before it broke out in August, President Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised interview, being broadcast this evening.
Speaking to the chief editors of Russia’s three main channels, he said he had suspected that the Georgian president had decided to launch a military operation. “The Georgian authorities unleashed a full-scale bloody war with its neighbours,” Medvedev said. “The day of the start of the war was a difficult one for me, but I don’t think we could have acted otherwise, and subsequent events proved that our decision was right.” Georgia attempted in August to retake control of the breakaway province of South Ossetia, and the Russian army moved onto Georgian territory. The war lasted for five days. In this evening’s interview, Medvedev also spoke about the economy. He said the ruble’s exchange rate should be more flexible. The currency has been devalued several times during the current crisis. For the first time in a decade, Russia is slumping into the red. Hit by the gobal financial meltdown and falling oil prices, the country will have a budget deficit equalling 48 billion euros in 2009. The government was 50 billion euros in credit in 2007. For the first time in ten years, Russia’s budget is slumping into the red. Hit by the gobal financial meltdown and falling oil prices, the country will have a deficit equalling 48 billion euros in 2009. The government was 50 billion euros in credit in 2007, and enjoyed 7 point 3 percent growth in the first nine months of this year. The interior ministry now admits that it expects an increase in protests over the impact of the economic slowdown. Russia expects a million more unemployed next year. At the weekend, riot police detained about one hundred people in Vladivostok who were demonstrating about new used-car import duties imposed to protect the domestic car industry. This evening, Russian TV broadcasts an interview with president Dmitri Medveydyev conducted by the chief editors of the three main channels. He will have to prepare public opinion for tough times ahead.