Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the economy could return to growth within two yearsReuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country's economy could return to growth within two years.

Speaking during a televised phone-in, Putin said Russia's economy was already strengthening and could be growing in less than two years.

Russia is sliding towards a recession in 2015, battered by low oil prices and sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over its role in the Ukraine conflict.

Since oil prices began to slide in mid-2014, real wages declined and Russian markets experienced a spectacular wave of capital flight.

The Russian ruble collapsed at the end of 2014 but has been resurgent this year, gaining around 20%, making it the world's best performing currency in 2015.

"Experts believe that we have passed the peak of the problems," Putin said, predicting that the economy would be growing within two years.

"It may be quicker. With what we are seeing now, the strengthening of the ruble and the growth in the markets...I think that it may happen faster," he said. "But somewhere in the region of two years."

Putin said during the televised event, in which ordinary Russians submit questions to the President, that sanctions imposed on Russia should act as a catalysts for Russia's economy to grow.

"We need to use the situation to reach a new level of development," he said.

Moscow has already promoted the expansion of Russian agricultural development to replace the European foodstuffs that were banned in retaliatory sanctions imposed by Russia on the EU.

Putin has also used the economic crisis to promote the idea of creating a Russian credit card payments system to rival Western models.