Medvedev says diversification is Russia's top task

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the main challenge facing his government is diversifying the country's economy. Russia's boom of the past decade was driven largely by high prices for its natural resources exports, particularly oil and natural gas; its manufacturing and service sectors are comparatively underdeveloped. As the global economic crisis took hold, prices for those commodities plummeted and Russia took a severe hit. In excerpts released by the Kremlin on Tuesday of an interview with the US TV channel CNBC, Medvedev said, "The main task for us is limitation of the consequences [of the crisis] and creation of a new structure for the economy ... Unfortunately, the level of diversification remains very narrow."