- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 25, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin told government ministers on Thursday that there would be no extended holiday for them due to the nation’s economic crisis.

The effects of western sanctions, falling oil prices and Russia’s 2015 economic forecast prompted Mr. Putin to scrap the government employee holiday, which usually goes from Jan. 1 to Jan 12.

“For the government, for your agencies we cannot afford this long holiday, at least this year — you know what I mean,” Mr. Putin said in a televised address, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The Russian Central Bank announced on Thursday that the country’s currency reserve has dropped below $400 billion for the first time since August 2009, AP reported. Russia has sold its currency reserve on the market to support the ruble, which lost 50 percent of its value within the last three weeks.

Anton Siluanov, Russia’s finance minister, seemingly contradicted Mr. Putin’s message on Thursday, saying the the currency crisis is over.

“We think that now this period has come to an end, the period of instability,” Mr. Siluanov said, The Atlantic reported. “We think that the ruble is still undervalued at the current price of oil.”

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