Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

Asia Map

With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

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Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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Sechin predicts oil price to reach $50-55 per barrel by end of 2016, $65 per barrel by end of 2017

Igor Sechin file photo

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Oil prices will reach the levels of $50-55 per barrel by the end of 2016 and $65 per barrel by the end of 2017, Rosneft (MOEX: ROSN) CEO Igor Sechin said during an interview with Rossiya-24 television. “The current volatility will continue. We think that by the end of the year we will stably reach […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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RBTH: SPIEF 2016: Russia will attract only the best foreign technologies

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russia plans to set up a new presidential council to promote economic innovation, as business deals are unveiled. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 21, 2016) Participants in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) have signed agreements worth $15.8 billion, the executive secretary of its organizing committee, Anton Kobyakov, has announced. The official […]

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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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Investments in Russia’s economy declining both because of structural problems, oil price drop – Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – A decline in investments in Russia’s economy can be explained by both the lower oil prices and investors’ worries about problems in Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s both this and that,” Putin said while meeting with top managers of international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday, when asked whether the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with heads of international news agencies

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with heads of leading international news agencies. The meeting was attended by representatives of news agencies from France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, India and Italy. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I have delivered so many speeches today that I […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Russian Direct Investment Fund International Expert Council and representatives of international investment community

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – June 16, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with members of the International Expert Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and representatives of the international investment community. . The President of Russia noted that during its existence the RDIF has achieved substantial results, among them, attracting over 760 billion rubles to the Russian economy. The President said the […]

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Russian Oil Producers Care More About Rubles Than Barrels

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – June 16, 2016) For Russian oil companies, the value of the ruble matters more than the price of a barrel. While OPEC celebrates the rebound in crude, Rosneft OJSC and Lukoil PJSC must keep one eye on the stronger Russian currency. That’s because the ruble’s 12 percent gain this year against the dollar […]

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Putin’s Reliance on American Commerce Has Never Been Greater

File Photo of Boeing 747, adapted from image at navy.mil

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – June 15, 2016) U.S. becomes Russia’s No. 5 partner as trade war hits EU worse Boeing, Cargill, Yum! lead U.S. companies expanding in Russia President Vladimir Putin loves to reel off statistics, but here’s one he may not trumpet at his annual investment forum in St. Petersburg this week: Russia’s reliance […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

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(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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Economy ministry expects rate cut to have moderate impact, sees room for further cut

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s decision on Friday to lower its key interest rate to 10.5% from 11% will have a positive, but “fairly moderate” impact on the economy, and there is still room for a further rate cut, a spokesman for the Economic Development Ministry told Interfax. “This decision will have a positive impact, […]

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Getting Each Other Wrong

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – June 14, 2016) Politicians have to walk the walk in order to be credible. This is even more true in today’s world, given the rise of populist demagoguery and the sorry state of trust between the most important players. The dialogue taking place between Russia, the U.S., […]

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Russians Are Struggling to Afford Medication

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 10, 2016) “Pharmacies have become like jewelry shops,” complained a man during this year’s annual phone-in with the Russian president. Vladimir Putin’s response was to reassure the man that his government planned to control rising medicine prices. When asked whether he used foreign or Russian-made medication, the president replied that he […]

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Chink of light as World Bank improves forecast for Russian economy

World Bank Building

Russian analysts cite the rise in oil prices and economic reforms, including the devaluation of the ruble, among the main reasons for the recent improvement in the country’s economic performance. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA EGOROVA, RBTH – June 10, 2016) There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered Russian economy; […]

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Putin’s Core Support Begins to Waver; Working-class Russians hurt by recession look for someone to blame-in an election year

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – June 9, 2016) Russia embarks on an almost two-year-long election season this summer that ends with a presidential contest in 2018. But unlike previous years, the country’s faltering economy has taken its toll on lower-income voters who blame the Duma and the cabinet for their plight. Five years ago, allegations of vote rigging […]

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Ordinary Russians Mistakenly Placing Their Hopes in Donald Trump, Bykov Says

Donald Trump

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 8, 2016) That Vladimir Putin should express his admiration and support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is no surprise. Not only does Trump reflect some of the same populist and nationalist themes the Kremlin leader does, but Putin welcomes Trump’s unilateralism and isolationism as something that might benefit Russia. […]

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New Bill Forces Russian Companies to Disclose Owner Information

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 8, 2016) Russia’s State Duma has passed a new bill obliging companies to disclose information on their beneficiaries at the request of the authorities, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill was prepared as part of the country’s push to improve economic transparency and decrease the use of offshore holdings. Russian President Vladimir […]

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No return to previous oil, gas price situation – Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

MINSK. June 8 (Interfax) – Oil and gas prices are expected to rise, but there will be no return to previous situation, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters in Minsk. “Of course a recovery of oil and gas prices is under way. Our low was $130 per thousand cubic meters, now it is $170 or more and I think […]

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Russians believe policy should not change under sanctions

EU Map

(Interfax – June 8, 2016) Most Russians (71 percent) are expecting the European Union to extend sanctions against Russia this summer, and 15 percent claim the opposite, the Levada Center told Interfax. Fourteen percent of 800 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on May 27-30 could not predict what the European authorities would do. The share of […]

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RBTH: Russian business repatriates money from offshore zones

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russian entrepreneurs have decided to bring their money back home from offshore havens. Statistics show that the largest amounts have returned to Russia from the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda. Additionally, $1 billion or more has entered Russia from such countries as Germany, France and the UK. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – […]

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NEWSLINK “RBTH/Gazeta.ru/Fyodor Lukyanov: “Will Russia integrate into the Western world, post-sanctions? Recent overtures by top EU and German officials usher in hopes that relations between Moscow and the West could be on the verge of a turn for the better – but the real question is what direction Russia will take after sanctions are lifted and the tensions have abated.”

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Why is Russia’s biggest gas pipeline being built on an uncompetitive basis?

Gas Flame file photo

Contracts for laying the Power of Siberia pipeline from Russia to China are being dished out mainly without tenders and are often handed to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Russian analysts deny that anything is amiss and insist this is related to Gazprom being afraid of not finishing them on time for its Chinese partner. (Russia Beyond […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia expects economic growth in a year; Ministers warned early this year a return to $50 per barrel oil could create headwinds – UPI

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

It may be another year before the Russian economy recovers from deep recession and returns to growth, the country’s economic development minister said. With a 3.7 percent decline in gross domestic product last year … Ulyukayev said the country was in a deep recession. The Russian Central Bank, however, said earlier this week that inflation was stabilizing and the economy […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Step-by-Step Rapprochement. Germany Considers Easing of Russia Sanctions. Standing tough on Russia remains official policy, but Germany has begun working on the careful easing of sanctions imposed following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. The US is opposed, but many in the EU could support the new approach.” – Der Spiegel

Europe Map

… What Merkel didn’t say … is that behind the scenes, her government has long since developed concrete plans for a step-by-step easing of the sanctions against Russia and that the process could begin as early as this year. … the message has been that the trade and travel restrictions will only be lifted once all the provisions foreseen by […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Village Resists Privatization Effort Championed by Putin. Locals, activists and lawmakers rally to prevent sale of century-old state-owned dairy plant.” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

The Russian government’s privatization drive soured in a village called Milk. The dairy plant here that for more than a century has churned out Russia’s most-recognizable brand of butter was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-February, the latest target to raise cash for the budget. But after locals, activists and lawmakers held rallies and petitioned President Vladimir Putin and other […]

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Why is Russia borrowing money on the foreign markets?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The Russian Finance Ministry has issued 10-year Eurobonds worth $1.75 billion with an annual yield of 4.75 percent. What is Moscow hoping to achieve with the issue, who has lent money to Russia, and how likely are they to get their money back? These and other questions are answered here. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH […]

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There is hope Russia, EU can take relations trajectory consistent with interests of their countries – Peskov

EU Map

MOSCOW. May 30 (Interfax) – There is hope for an improvement of Russia-EU relations, and the participation of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum can help that, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “On the whole, the subject of Russia-EU relations has paramount importance, relations with the European Union are still crucial for the […]

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Putin’s Longstanding Plan for Long-Term Confrontation with the West Being Implemented Ever More Rapidly, Illarionov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 28, 2016) For the last decade, Vladimir Putin has pursued a plan to isolate his country from the outside world by pursuing rearmament and confrontation with the West, Andrey Illarionov says. Now, there is evidence that the Kremlin leader is stepping up his efforts I that direction even during the current […]

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Medvedev opens Moscow’s fourth airport Zhukovsky

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

Zhukovsky. May 30 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has opened the Moscow aviation hub’s fourth international airport, Zhukovsky, an Interfax correspondent reported. One of the first airlines to begin scheduled flights from Zhukovsky will be Kyrgyzstan’s Air Kyrgyzstan. The first flight is scheduled for June 20, a representative of the carrier told journalists on Monday. At the opening […]

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Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club

Kremlin and River

Subject: Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 From: Rachel Douglas <cmgusa@frontiernet.net> Glad to see some attention to the Russian Presidential Economic Council meeting of May 25, but, setting aside the evaluations, there were quite a few errors of fact in two of the items included in JRL 2016-#95/May 26. Stratfor – […]

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Three ways out of Russia’s crisis: The plans on Putin’s table …. #RUSSIA

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian economists have proposed three programs to help the country get out of the crisis. They were presented to President Vladimir Putin at the session of the Economy Council on May 25. RBTH tries to understand the essence of each plan and how such proposals were realized in the past. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH […]

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Confusion about the Presidential Economic Council and the Stolypin Club

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. May 27 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry is still committed to the 1987 Treaty Between the United States of America and the Soviet Union on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The Russian Federation is committed to this treaty and abides by all of its provisions,” Ryabkov […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with French business community representatives

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with French business community representatives. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, Let me welcome you all to Moscow. It is a great pleasure to meet the members of the Economic Council of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. France is without a doubt one of our longstanding […]

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Was Russia’s First Bond Sale in 3 Years a Success?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – May 26, 2016) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/was-russias-first-bond-sale-in-3-years-a-success/570254.html] Bidding opened suddenly on the morning of May 23. After a three-year absence from international markets, and with very little warning, Russia announced it wished to borrow billions of dollars. The Finance Ministry sought to help finance a yawning budget deficit caused by the low price […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Economic Council Presidium

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Economic Council Presidium to examine growth sources for the Russian economy through to 2025. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, The Economic Council Presidium is at work once again, this time with the task of discussing and outlining key guidelines and objectives for our economic policy […]

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Russia Hails Eurobond Triumph as Traders Ask: Who Bought It?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Lyubov Pronina – May 25, 2016) Russia hailed its sale of $1.75 billion of Eurobonds as a triumph in the face of sanctions and “unprecedented pressure” from U.S. and European Union governments. While Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the deal showed foreigners have “trust” in Russia, investors expressed concern the bond won’t be admitted […]

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Russians demonstrate record pessimism as economic slump goes on

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The results of a new survey shows consumers in Russia are at their gloomiest for 11 years as disposable income dries up, with many unable to afford a vacation. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – May 4, 2016) Russian consumers are more negative about their economic prospects than they have been for the last 11 […]

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