MOSCOW (Reuters) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia could be one of the world's top five economies by 2020 and its economy would have to be strong to withstand external threats.
Putin told the lower house of parliament inflation would not exceed 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2011 and said gross domestic product grew by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the year.
"Based on GDP, Russia should enter the ranks of the five leading countries," he told deputies in an annual report to the chamber, adding that GDP per capita should reach $35,000 by 2020.
He did not spell out what threats Russia might face from abroad but said: "Economic weakness and sensitivity to external shocks result in threats to national sovereignty."
"Let us be frank. In the modern world, if you are weak, there will definitely be someone who will want to come or fly in and advise ... in which direction you should go."
(Writing by Gleb Bryanski, editing by Timothy Heritage)