Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised Monday to build a "new economy" in Russia as he admitted its prosperity was still held back by a litany of ills despite his 12-year domination of the country.
In a bid to show he remains Russia's best hope for economic stability after a wave of protests, Putin admitted the country faced "systemic" corruption, an "unsatisfactory" business climate and an "inadmissible" dependence on energy exports.
Putin's pledges came in an article for business daily Vedomosti, the latest in a series of wordy tracts setting out his vision for Russia ahead of the March 4 presidential poll where he plans to win a third Kremlin term.
"To have an economy that neither guarantees us stability, sovereignty or well-being is inadmissible for Russia," said Putin.
"We need a new economy with competitive industry and infrastructure, with a developed services sector, with effective agriculture," Putin added.
He appeared to acknowledge the failure of the much-heralded modernisation programme of his protege President Dmitry Medvedev, who Putin plans to succeed as Kremlin chief after his four-year stint as prime minister.
"There has been no noticeable breakthrough so far," he said.
Vedomosti, one of Russia's few newspapers to have been consistently critical of Putin, printed his article in full but lambasted him in an accompanying commentary for failing to make clear how the reforms will be implemented.
"The word 'must' is used in the text 32 times, the word 'will' 19 times, 'need' 17 times and 'necessary' 11 times," said Vedomosti. "But who is it that 'must'? And what has he (Putin) been doing all these last years?" it asked.
The article comes days ahead of a new rally on Saturday by the anti-Putin protest movement which hopes to attract tens of thousands of people in a march through Moscow to challenge his domination of Russia.