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“To Heave a Sigh of Relief”

Earlier today during President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the last cabinet meeting of the year, he commented on economic growth, foreign investment, food price controls and inflation, and said “we no longer depend on large profits from oil and natural gas exports alone.” He also pledged for the government to work hard to keep the country running during the election, as though responding to fears of instability:

Last but not least, the entire state machinery must operate reliably and effectively during the presidential election. It mostly concerns the Government of the Russian Federation. So Mr Zubkov must guarantee performance intense enough for all to heave a sigh of relief even if I become Prime Minister. The Government must work efficiently and dynamically, and be aloof to any domestic political events, even such crucial ones as the presidential election. I want to stress that we are working for our nation, for our people, and we must guarantee them normal life.

“A sigh of relief”? “Be aloof to any domestic political events”? Sometimes it feels like the Kremlin lives in some whole other reality…