Supporters of sanctions are now grappling with problems they had predicted for Russia, according to the president © Getty Images / Wataru Yanagida

The Russian economy is now developing in a new way, with GDP expected to grow as soon as the second quarter of this year, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Speaking at a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) in Moscow, Putin said the country has managed to fully compensate for the loss of access to Western markets.

According to the head of state, Russia’s foreign trade grew by more than 8% last year, while last year’s trade surplus hit $332 billion.

The president noted that former European partners are trying “to convince everyone of the imminent collapse of the Russian economy,” even though EU inflation rates are higher.

Inflation in Russia is expected at around 4%, while retail growth is projected to reach 5% in April, thanks to a stable labor market, lower inflation and higher wages, according to the president.

The West thought it would destroy Russia's economy with 'sanctions from hell,' here's why the plan failed The West thought it would destroy Russia's economy with 'sanctions from hell,' here's why the plan failed

“A year ago, Western governments twisted the arms of their companies, forcing some of them, many of them, to leave the Russian market, then foreign analysts predicted a depression and a decline in the consumer sector for us, promised empty store shelves, a massive shortage of goods, and the failure of the service sector,” the Russian leader said.

However, according to Putin, life took a different turn, with Western countries now urging their people to eat turnips instead of fruit and vegetables.

“Turnips are a good product, but you will probably have to turn to us [Russia] for turnips too, because our crop level still significantly exceeds those of our neighbors in Europe,” he joked.

The Russian president also urged Russia’s billionaires to invest in new technology, production facilities and enterprises to help overcome what he called Western attempts to destroy the national economy.

According to Putin, well-timed investment decisions today will pay off a hundredfold tomorrow.

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