A third of the Russian budget is no longer dependent on oil and gas revenues, said President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, during his annual December press conference.

“This means that, while we’re not completely there, we are nonetheless starting to get off the so-called oil and gas needle,” Putin said. “If someone still wants to consider us as a gas station, then this has no real basis,” he added.

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According to Putin, Russia is doing better than most countries in dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The Russian president said the fall in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year is expected to be 3.6 percent.

“This is less than in all of Europe and the United States,” Putin said. The Russian leader pointed out that the drop in GDP across most of the European countries was close to nine percent. At the same time, the Russian economy is doing better than the US.

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