Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he doesn't expect sanctions against Russia to be lifted anytime soon but insisted that there were some positive economic indicators and the country's economy can remain strong. Speaking during his annual live televised question-and-answer session, Putin said Western sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea were "a political matter" aimed at hindering the country's development. "Sanctions make an impact, contribute to our troubles, but [are] not the main thing," he said. "Russia is not Iran. Our country is bigger, our economy is bigger and more diversified, we have a different energy policy."