MOSCOW, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Russia's finance minister predicted a large budget deficit in 2009 and said Saturday the economy might be at its lowest point since World War II.
In an interview on the Vesti TV channel, Alexei Kudrin said he expects the deficit to total between $52 and $70 billion (1.5 to 2 trillion rubles), RIA Novosti reported.
Parliament approved a budget that was in surplus, the Russian news agency said. But the spending plan assumed that oil would be selling at $95 per barrel.
"2009 will be the most difficult for the Russian and world economies. I cannot remember a worse year since the end of the Second World War," he said. "This will be the worst year for the economy in modern times."
Russia depends heavily on oil exports and has been hit both by the declining price from recent historic highs and by declining demand.