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Putin tells Russian billionaires to put patriotism above profit

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Russian billionaires on Thursday to put patriotism above profit, telling them to invest in the country to shore up the economy in the face of Western sanctions.

Addressing Russia’s business elite personally for the first time since he sent his troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, Putin said businessmen’s role was not just to earn money, but to support society.

“A responsible businessman is a true citizen of Russia, of his country, a citizen who understands and acts in its interests,” Putin said.

“It does not hide assets abroad, but registers companies here, in our country, and is not dependent on foreign authorities.”

He hailed the “high mission” of entrepreneurs who care for their workers and direct their talents not just to extract profit but also for the public good.

Putin said he wants to hear business people’s views on how to build a more dynamic economy that will lead to “a remarkable improvement in the quality of life for people across the country”.

Though received with a standing ovation, he delivered a stern message to Russia’s richest: they need to think more about the country’s needs and less about their own bottom line.

The president said on Thursday that what he called an attempt to wreck Russia’s economy with sanctions had failed. But he also sounded an urgent note, saying the country cannot afford to sit still.

Source: CNN Brasil

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