The recession in Russia is over according to Vladimir Putin, who has delivered his annual report to the lower house of parliament.
The prime minister likes to project a healthy image.
But he was visibly ill, addressing members of the Duma with a trembling voice and regular coughing.
He admitted the economic situation was far from ideal.
“I would like to reiterate how important it is for everyone, not only the government but for everyone in this room today, to maintain a responsible economic policy and avoid holding our hand out to anyone,” he said in the speech.
So, borrowing is not the way forward for Russia’s most popular politician whose eight years as its president were marked by an energy-fuelled boom.
He became prime minister only months before the world economic downturn struck, hitting Russia hard.
In a sign of confidence, he predicted economic growth could exceed the official forecast of 3.1 per cent in 2010. But Putin was silent on the strengthening rouble, which some say poses the biggest single threat to boosting Russia’s growth.