The situation in the Russian economy has not been solved and the government expects a 0.3% fall in GDP this year, according to the country's president. But, as Sonia Legg reports, there was plenty of optimism in Vladimir Putin's annual televised phone-in.
Vladimir Putin has plenty of fans at home as this cafe in Siberia illustrates. It's dedicated to his life - you can even shake hands with him - well almost. The real Putin has been embracing the public from Moscow. With the economy dominating his annual phone-in. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "I hope and I am almost sure that this crisis is temporary and that as markets become filled with locally-produced food products prices will start going down." Russia's economy shrank by 3.7 percent last year, thanks to falling oil prices and sanctions imposed by the west over Ukraine. Putin sees growth returning next year and said the method of economic stimulus favoured by many outside Russia was not for him. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "The most important thing is not to print money, but to change the structure of the economy. That's very complicated, but we are moving in the right direction as recent signs of increased industrial output show." Putin wants to reduce Russia's reliance on its natural resources. But it's increasing isolation is a problem for many. (SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMERZBANK, GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "There really appears to be a problem in the sense that Mr Putin is not communicating with the rest of the world in a way which makes for constructive engagement then as long as that remains the case then the sanctions will remain in place and the Russian economy will continue to suffer despite what Mr Putin tells his clientele at home." Putin also promised to spend on potholes and medicine. Welcome vows perhaps - but possibly not a cure for all Russia's complaints.