NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. The combination of foreign-policy optimism, creature comforts, and domestic repression seems to be a potent elixir. … as in … Brezhnev’s time, foreign policy is overshadowing Russia’s domestic politics. Unlike then, however, Russia’s prospects are looking up. … Trump has made clear his desire to improve relations with the Kremlin, and will reportedly meet with … Putin in June. …

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