Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he meets with journalists after a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Russia's economy could return to growth in less than two years, despite Western sanctions which he said were intended to "contain" his country.In a confident performance during a televised call-in show, Putin sounded defiant and patriotic, assuring viewers that Russia will survive an economic crisis deepened by the sanctions and low oil prices, and will always stand up to the West.The former KGB officer, in power for 15 years, made it clear that he mainly blames the West for Russia's economic problems, including the weak ruble, high inflation and falling revenues.Putin's ratings in Russia have soared since the country annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine just over a year ago but relations with the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War ended nearly a quarter of a century ago.
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