Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the country's richest businessmen to help wean the economy off its dependence on ``truly huge'' natural resources.
Businesses should focus less on exporting natural resources and more on exporting ``high-tech, high-value products,'' Putin told 24 business leaders, including Alexei Miller of state-run OAO Gazprom and billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, who are forming the world's biggest aluminum maker.
The president's meeting with members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, came a day before the country's biggest business lobby holds its annual conference and celebrates its 15th anniversary.
``Russia must earn significantly more from processing its truly huge natural resources,'' Putin said, according to the Kremlin's Web site.
Russia is the world's largest gas supplier and second- largest oil supplier and relies on energy sales for two-thirds of export revenue. The economy is growing for a ninth-straight year, a post-Soviet record.
To contact the reporter on this story: Hannah Gardner at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Malcolm Fried at firstname.lastname@example.org