Putin adviser: Russia needs reforms to offset US sanctions

Putin adviser: Russia needs reforms to offset US sanctions
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An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a recent interview said Russia must impose reforms following its next presidential election in order to offset new U.S. sanctions targeting the Kremlin.

"In the next six to seven years we could not notice the decline in the areas of productivity and technological development,” Alexei Kudrin, who previously served as Russia’s finance minister, told Reuters in an interview published on Thursday.

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“In the end we will see it, because others will grow faster, but by then it will be difficult to change something," he said, referring to the impact of U.S. sanctions on the country's economy.

Kudrin’s comments come after the House on Tuesday passed legislation that restricts the Trump administration’s ability to lift sanctions on Moscow.

Trump had expressed a desire to improve relations with Russia during his presidential campaign, but so far his enthusiasm to mend ties has been clouded by the investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling and potential ties between Trump campaign staff members and the Kremlin.

"In its current form, the tightening of sanctions under discussion wouldn't seriously affect the Russian economy, there aren't serious changes with the version that exists,” Kudrin said in the interview. 

“But the hope that sanctions would be canceled in the coming years has now faded," he continued.

The new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, on Thursday suggested Trump could veto the legislation and be "tougher on the Russians than the Congress." 

The legislation passed the House earlier this week with a veto-proof majority, as did an original version of the bill in the Senate.