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|Sunday, July 09, 2000, updated at 18:53(GMT+8)|
Putin Lists Russia's Most Pressing ProblemsRussian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday listed the alarming demographic situation, economic recession and the possibility of Russia's degeneration into a poor country as the state's most pressing problems to be solved.
"The complicated demographic situation, the reduction of the Russian population, is one of the gravest problems facing our country," he told the Federal Assembly in his first state-of-nation address.
"There are fewer and fewer of us, Russia's citizens, from year to year," Putin said, noting that the population of the nation decreases annually by 750,000 people.
"In this case, the number of Russians may drop by 22 million in 15 years. If the present trend keeps up, the survival of the nation will be endangered," Putin warned.
He also vowed to work hard to draw the country's bewildering ailing economy out of a long-lasting depression so that Russia can avoid the fate of degenerating into a poor country of "the so-called third world."
"Will we be able to remain as a nation if our people's well-being depends on obtaining international credits?" Putin asked the deputies rhetorically.
"Russia will be strong only with a strong economy... A powerful state, a stable economic growth and the people's well-being are our top priority tasks and most important goals," he stressed.
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