President Boris Yeltsin told Russians in an Independence Day speech Saturday that market-oriented reforms of the former communist system were succeeding and economic disaster had been avoided.
But the president, who has come under intense pressure from conservatives who say he is selling Russia out to the West, made fewer promises of fast economic recovery and had a tougher message for Western industrial nations.He told a televised news conference marking the national holiday that Russia was over the worst of its economic crisis. But, he said, no dramatic improvement could be expected this year.
"The economic situation is not getting worse and will not do so," Yeltsin said. But later he added: "Once, addressing a rally, I ... promised an economic recovery in 1992. It did not happen and let us hope that, at best, the economy will stabilize in 1993."
Yeltsin followed his cautious estimation of Russia's economic prospects with a strong warning to the so-called Group of Seven leading industrialized nations.
"The main goal that I'm setting for the meeting with the G7 is to put an end to discrimination against Russia," Yeltsin said in a reference to a summit of the seven nations in Tokyo next month.