Putin blames US for world financial woes

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Moscow, Oct 2 (UNI) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has blamed the United Sates for the global financial woes, saying Washington failed to take adequate steps in response to the crisis.

''What is happening today, and it is known to have started in the United States in the sphere of economics and finances, is due not to the irresponsibility of certain people, but the irresponsibility of a system that claimed to be the leader,'' Mr Putin told a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

''The US not only cannot assume leadership, it cannot even take appropriate and absolutely essential measures for overcoming the crisis,'' the Prime Minister said.

Troubles in the US financial sector have spilled over into Russian markets, hitting banking shares and stocks more broadly, and making it virtually impossible for highly leveraged companies to secure funds abroad to refinance debts.

''Everything that is happening in economics and finance started in the US,'' Mr Putin said, stressing Russia would complete its development plans, despite the financial crisis.

Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the credit squeeze might shave one percentage point off Russian growth next year, meaning that the economy might expand by as little as 5.7 per cent.

Mr Putin said the government will provide up to 6.8 billion dollars in extra funds in 2009 to support the domestic financial market against the backdrop of the global slump.

He added the government had taken extra measures to strengthen the financial market.

In particular, the government has allocated three billion dollars from the 2008 budget to enlarge the equity of state-controlled Vnesheconombank, which was established last year as a national development vehicle to modernise and diversify the Russian economy and make it more competitive, he said.

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