Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged Russians to be patient Wednesday as the ruble plunges due to falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine, and said the currency was now undervalued.
"It's definitely not necessary to go into hysterics," Medvedev said in a televised interview.
"Here, people just need to have patience and look at how events developed in a similar situation in 2008-2009 when the ruble weakened significantly," he told five television channels.
"Most economists and analysts agree that at the moment the ruble is excessively weakened, that is, it is undervalued," Medvedev assured Russians, warning that they could ultimately lose if they changed their savings into foreign currency.
He said that during the 2008-2009 crisis when the ruble last fell dramatically against the dollar and euro, those who exchanged savings lost money since the currency then bounced back somewhat.
He added that he kept his own money in rubles.
"We are in the same boat," said Medvedev, who served a four-year stint as president before ceding the Kremlin back to his mentor Vladimir Putin in 2012.
Nevertheless, the prime minister conceded that ordinary Russians were suffering from rising prices and that while a weak ruble benefited exporters, it was harmful to the economy longterm.
"In the long term... it's obvious that a significant weakening in the ruble exchange rate is not advantageous for our economy," he said.
He reiterated the Kremlin's official line by saying that Russia cannot be the one to lift sanctions, while conceding that they had caused the country's economy losses of billions of dollars this year.
"We didn't bring in these sanctions and we shouldn't be the ones to cancel them, that is their business," Medvedev said.
"Our economy as a result of these sanctions has probably lost tens of billions of dollars," he said, while reiterating that the European Union had also seen losses due to the sanctions.