Interfax: Russian wheat harvest may reach record 79-82 mln tonnes this year – IKAR

File Image, Map of Russian Wheat Production by Region, adapted from image at usda.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 23 (Interfax) – Russia’s Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) has once more raised its forecast for the grain harvest this year. The wheat harvest may reach a record 79 million-82 million tonnes this year, up from 73.3 million tonnes last year, IKAR General Director Dmitry Rylko told Interfax. IKAR previously forecast that the wheat harvest would amount […]

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Interfax: Russian consumer prices unchanged, annual inflation down to 3.7% in week

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

MOSCOW. Aug 23 (Interfax) – Russian consumer prices were unchanged in the week of August 15-21, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Russia had 0.1% deflation the previous three weeks as prices fell for the first time since early August 2016. Inflation was much lower than expected at 0.1% in July despite weekly inflation for the month being 0.3%. […]

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Soviet-Era Grain Record Seen Tumbling on Bumper Russian Crop

File Image, Map of Russian Wheat Production by Region, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anatoly Medetsky – August 21, 2017) A quarter century after the collapse of the USSR, Russian farmers are finally poised to beat the record for grain production that the country set during the Soviet era. The harvest will total at least 130.7 million metric tons this year on bumper wheat and corn crops, said Vladimir Petrichenko, […]

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Big Data Convert Channels Big Brother to Take Russia’s Pulse

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 22, 2017) Raw numbers no longer cut it for Russia’s central bank in its effort to keep up with the economy. Instead, the man running its research and forecasting wants to know how Russians really feel by mining “big data,” gathered from social media and online stores. The Bank of Russia has […]

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Russian Emigres in New York Unfazed by Sanctions Fallout; U.S.-Russia relations are flourishing in Brooklyn’s ‘Little Odessa’

File Photo of Manhattan and Manhattan Bridge, adapted from image at loc.gov, from photo by Carol M. Highsmith

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – August 18, 2017) NEW YORK – U.S. President Donald Trump begrudgingly signed off on the latest round of sanctions against Russia early in August to the sound of growing hostility. In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev slammed the new sanctions, saying Washington had launched “a full-fledged economic war on Russia.” “It ends […]

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Piketty Zeroes In on Putin’s Pain Point; The West should stop relying on sanctions and instead target Russia’s massive offshore wealth.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 14, 2017) After alerting the Western world to the alarming rise of inequality, Thomas Piketty has turned his attention to Russia. To someone who has lived through Russia’s transition from Communism to crony capitalism, his take on that transition reveals deep flaws in his overall methodology — but some of his conclusions […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Without reforms, economic sclerosis awaits; What are Putin’s economic policy options if he retains power in 2018?” – Intersection/ Georgy Bovt

Kremlin and River

“… it is increasingly difficult for a country like present-day Russia to survive and ‘wait through’ the present. The longer anyone postpones the political decisions about launching some ‘healing measures’, the larger the scale of economic and technological collapse there will be; the economic model will inevitably become less and less competitive the more policy makers sit on their hands. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia industrial production is rising in all eight federal districts” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Industrial output growth continued in the first half of this year in all of Russia’s eight federal districts (or Okrug in Russian, each district containing Russia 80 regions), according to the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT). …”

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Russia setting priorities of its EAEU presidency – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

ASTANA. Aug 14 (Interfax) – The Russian presidency of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2018 will focus on trade barriers, interaction with international partners, labor standards, and support for exports, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council’s meeting in Astana on Monday. “Russia will be presiding in the Eurasian Union next year. We are setting […]

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The One Big Problem With New Russia Sanctions; Congress won’t let Trump waive penalties, which gives Moscow no reason to change its behavior.

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Meghan L. O’Sullivan – August 10, 2017) Meghan L. O’Sullivan is a Bloomberg columnist and the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. She served on the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007, and was deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. The latest round of congressional […]

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Econ Min approves creation of priority development areas in 11 mono-cities

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

St. Petersburg. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The Russian Economic Development Ministry has approved the creation of priority development areas (PDA) in 11 mono-cities – cities that are predominantly dependant on one industry or factory – in nine constituent members of the Russian Federation, the minstry’s press service said. The Economic Development Ministry commission has approved the creation of PDAs in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Back to the land: Russia’s farming transformation; Can government policy and a new foodie class turn the country into an agricultural force?” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“… With 123 million hectares in arable land – the world’s third-largest area behind only India and the U.S. – Russia has the potential to be an agricultural superpower. The country has 36,400 agricultural enterprises and 174,600 farmers, according to the 2016 agricultural census. … although the broader economy has been in the grip of recession over the past two […]

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Moscow’s Makeover Swaps Soviet Grit for Urban Sparkle; Smart city apps, historically accurate trees, a working subway. While Washington obsesses over sanctions and hacks, Russia is rebranding its capital as a model of urban planning.

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Valerie Stivers – August 10, 2017) [Text with photos bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-10/moscow-s-makeover-swaps-soviet-grit-for-urban-sparkle] Moscow felt medieval when I first arrived almost 20 years ago, in January 1998, seeking adventure. There were few billboards, advertisements, or shop windows filled with merchandise. The women working at my local producti, or small grocery store, wore shawls, had moles and wens, and weighed […]

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Russia Braces for Permanent Sanctions From the U.S.; Moscow was hopeful Trump would loosen sanctions. Instead, he made them permanent.

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Anna Andrianova – August 8, 2017) Andrey Kostin, a former Soviet diplomat in London who runs Russia’s second-largest bank, was jubilant when Donald Trump was elected last year. “We may soon see U.S. financial sanctions eased or even lifted,” he said at the time. Now, he’s changed his tune as his state-run VTB Group, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: What Do the New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Target?” – Reuters

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… * The law establishes a review process that allows #Congress to block any effort by #Trump to ease or lift sanctions on #Russia. Lawmakers passed the bill to punish Russia over its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its involvement in Syria’s civil war. * Trump, or any U.S. president, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why New U.S. Sanctions Could Be a Ticking Time Bomb for Investors in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Elisabeth Braw, Nabi Abdullaev

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

“The 755 staff forced to leave the U.S. embassy by … Putin may seem to have little to do with private companies wishing to invest in Russia. But in reality, they’re closely linked. … international companies planning to invest in Russia or already doing business there now face more uncertainty. And six months from now, a ticking bomb wrapped in […]

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Will New U.S. Sanctions Regime Finally Hit Putin and Those Closest to Him?

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 2, 2017) Western sanctions on Russia up to now have hit the ordinary people of that country, although not as hard as the countersanctions the Kremlin itself has imposed. But the Western actions have done less to affect those closest to Vladimir Putin who, unlike the Russian people, may be in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “President Trump signs Russia sanctions bill” – ABC

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump today signed a bill aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election despite his reservations … passed with rare and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress …. The bill limits the president’s ability to lift or waive sanctions against Russia and keeps in place sanctions the Obama administration imposed …. It also allows the U.S. to deny […]

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U.S. Sanctions Are Another Gift to Putin; Far from being hurt by them, he finds them useful.

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 31, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Russian President Vladimir Putin tends to respond to Western sanctions in ways its authors probably didn’t anticipate: by going after those Russians who could most help […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to become a net borrower for first time in a decade” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russia has been dipping into its rainy day Reserve Fund to cover the federal budget deficit but this fund is due to run out of money sometime next year. Now the government is actively preparing to dip into its other sovereign fund, the National Welfare Fund, that was set up to meet future pension payments, but now will be […]

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Moscow’s Facelift as Modernization

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – July 27, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital Central Moscow has been a scene of digging […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Challenge to U.S. Power: Chinese Exceptionalism; Once-reticent citizens now see their country as ascendant-and America in decline” – Wall Street Journal/ Te-Ping Chen, Josh Chin

Asia Map

… Chinese exceptionalism is on the rise. … challeng[ing] a decades-old tenet of U.S. foreign policy … that argued exposure to the West would lead Chinese to embrace Western values. … President Xi’s signature slogan, the ‘China Dream,’ appeals to Chinese who aspire to a middle-class lifestyle and cheer China’s return to international prominence. … China’s government exercises near-absolute authority over education, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Risks Decades of Low Growth Under U.S. Sanctions: Putin Adviser”- Reuters

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“Russia risks being saddled with U.S. sanctions for decades, curbing economic growth and preventing it from regaining its status as a leading economic power, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin said …. Alexei Kudrin told Reuters that the current proposed tightening of sanctions in Washington should not have any serious impact. But he called for a major structural reform program […]

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Kremlin Plan to Make Fight for Justice Centerpiece of Putin Campaign Seen Backfiring

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 26, 2017) Two anonymous sources “close to the Presidential Administration” tell the Znak news agency that Vladimir Putin plans to fight “the struggle against poverty and social injustice” a centerpiece of his re-election campaign in order to mobilize Russians against local and regional elites. But Znak commentator Yekaterina Vinokurova warns that […]

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Why Russia’s Market Is Rising After Sanctions Bill Approval

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 27, 2017) The U.S. House has approved a bill hardening sanctions against Russia, but European resistance to some of its toughest new measures means the impact on companies will be muted, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. As it stands now, the most negative aspect of the bill […]

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New U.S. sanctions bill on Russia threatens to further erode Minsk agreement; The diplomatic spat over new U.S. Russia sanctions risks eroding common US-EU position on Ukraine conflict.

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(opendemocracy.net – Moritz Pieper – July 27, 2017) Moritz Pieper is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Salford, UK. He received his PhD from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Beijing, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Brussels, […]

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New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Are a Mixed Bag; Europeans are rightly wary that promoting U.S. exports is an ulterior motive.

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 24, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. The European Commission is preparing to counteract the new sanctions the U.S. Congress may impose on Russia this week. This may sound as if Europe is […]

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NEWSWATCH: “IMF says Russia’s economy is gradually recovering” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The IMF projects real growth of GDP in Russia at the level of 1.4% in 2017 …. According to the World Bank, the Russian economy will grow by 1.3% in 2017, while Russia’s economic development ministry put the figure at 2%. … noticeably in the last two months … both real disposable incomes and construction activity [have been] improving. …” Click […]

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Muscovites Hesitant to Protest Housing Demolition Scheme, Poll Finds

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 24, 2017) Only one-third of Muscovites who voted against a controversial housing demolition program would participate in protests against the scheme, according to a poll published by independent pollster the Levada Center. The poll, conducted at the request of the RBC news outlet, revealed that 34 percent of those living in apartment blocks who […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Crawls Back To Life, But Locals Feel Uneasy” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s economy surely is better than it was a year ago. But, tell that to the Russians. … 45% of them believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ despite a nice 3.1% recovery in economic growth over the last 12 months ending in May, according to … VTsIOM…. Higher food prices and declining savings were the biggest concerns …. Thanks to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Cold weather hits Russian economy in May but recovery still on track” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s statistics agency released a slew of numbers for June and revised the May numbers. The bottom line is while the economy took a hit from the bad weather in May, the recovery is broadly on track and life is starting to look better for the man in the street after two years of grinding pain. Real disposable incomes and […]

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Like Putin, Russians Don’t have ‘Image of the Future,’ Shelin Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2017) The report earlier this week that “the Kremlin still has not succeeded in thinking up an image of the future on which Vladimir Putin can run in the 2018 elections” (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/07/kremlin-still-unable-to-come-up-with.html) is exceptional under Russian conditions, Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin says. But behind it is an even deeper problem, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Half of Russians see hardest crisis times still ahead” –  bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Almost half of Russians (45%) believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ for them as the crisis unwinds, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).   Russia’s economy is recovering from its two-year recession and GDP growth is gathering momentum, putting in 3.1% growth year-on-year in May. Industrial production is recovering too, up […]

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Russia Ranked Among Worst Countries to Be a Pensioner

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 20, 2017) Russia has staked its claim as one of the five worst countries in the world for pensioners, according to a new report. The Natixis Global Retirement Index ranks Russia 40th out of 43 countries worldwide – below Turkey, China, and Mexico. Only Brazil, Greece, and India have an even lower score. Russia […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Is Vladimir Putin’s big collapse coming soon? Author Richard Lourie talks about how Putin’s failure to wean Russia off oil will destroy the nation’s economy” – Salon/ Richard Lourie / Carrie Sheffield

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

(Salon – July 18, 2017 – from: salon.com/2017/07/18/watch-is-vladimir-putins-big-collapse-coming-soon/) “Salon Talks sat down with Richard Lourie to discuss his book, “Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash.” Lourie argues that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will collapse, just as Imperial Russia did in 1917 and the Soviet Union did in 1991. He cites the Russian president’s failure to move the nation’s economy from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Rising prices and falling savings are Russians’ biggest fears” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Rising prices and falling savings are currently Russians’ biggest fears, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM). … Mounting food prices and declining savings topped the ranking of Russians’ fears in the middle of this year. However, the fears of a military conflict with the west has also been rising steadily, the poll found, reports […]

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Government policy measures could reduce price volatility, inflation expectations – CBR chief

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. July 13 (Interfax) – Government policy regarding the development of infrastructure, logistics and competition on food markets, as well as tariff regulation could help to reduce the volatility of prices and lower inflation expectations, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at the International Financial Congress. “We need to fight not only with the consequences of shocks for inflation, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Beijing stirs up Russia’s backyard” – bne Intellinews

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“An invisible wedge has been growing between Russia and its Central Asian neighbours since Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine …. The unease is most particularly tangible in Astana. Any statements made by Russian officials that appear to put in question the statehood Kazakhstan gained after it was granted independence from the USSR prompt collective gasps. At the same time, China […]

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NEWSLINK: “Eurasian eyes turn east; Russia is more and more seeing China’s push West as an opportunity rather than a threat” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Asia Map

“… The relationship with the Chinese state began as a trade deal, but it has become progressively more political. It was not for nothing that when Xi Jinping took office in March 2013 his first trip abroad was to Moscow. To escape its blockade by the West, Russia has tried to shape the new emerging economies such as China into […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Look At The Russian Financial Press’ Reports On Trump-Putin Meeting” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The Russian financial press took a rather sobering look at the first meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Friday, with the two major dailies witnessing the same meeting as most of the American press. Both Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers said the two had good chemistry and spent two hours and 20 minutes together, beyond their scheduled time. […]

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Russia Caught Between Economic Decline and Potentially Explosive Demographic Change

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 5, 2017) Russia’s economic development ministry says that the country’s GDP growth will be approximately half of one percent lower each year because of projected declines in the number of workers in Russia in the coming decades, a decline that the ministry says must be fought by increasing immigration. But any […]

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Article by Vladimir Putin published in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt (re G20)

Map of Germany

(Kremlin.ru – July 6, 2017) Ahead of my trip to Germany to take part in the Summit of the Group of Twenty, I would like to share some thoughts about cooperation within the G20 framework with the readers of Handelsblatt, one of the most popular and reputable German newspapers. Over the years of its existence, the Group of Twenty has […]

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Russian government extends counter-sanctions till end of 2018

EU Map

MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a resolution extending the ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food, the governmental website said in a report on Wednesday. “The ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food originating from the United States, EU member countries, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin made a lot of promises to Russians on his call-in TV show. Now, he’s delivering.” – Washington Post/David Filipov, Natalya Abbakumova

“… The event, called ‘Direct Line,’ is carefully staged to show that Russia’s head of state, who probably will  seek a new six-year term next March, understands his people — and can solve their problems — better than ­anyone. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “No Thaw Likely at Trump-Putin Meeting” – Wall Street Journal/ Nathan Hodge

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Russian officials are cautious about expectations for a fresh start in relations with Washington despite a planned first meeting between … Putin and … Trump next week. … Lavrov expressed hope that ‘pragmatism will prevail.’ But he added that U.S.-Russian relations ‘have become hostage to the internal politics’ inside Washington. * * * Russia continues to chafe under U.S. and Western […]

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Kudrin doesn’t rule out Russia – EU free trade zone “in distant future”

EU Map

MOSCOW. July 3 (Interfax) – The head of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has called for intensifying trade cooperation with European countries. “We need to reach a new agreement with EU countries in the future, and in the distant future this could be a free trade zone. If we want to be open […]

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Nearly 40 Percent of Russian Economy Still in Shadow Sector

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 2, 2017) According to the international Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, 39.3 percent of the Russian economy remains in the shadow sector, making Russia one of the leaders in this regard and meaning that 35.55 trillion rubles (600 billion US dollars) of economic activity there are off the books and not […]

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Kremlin’s Claims about Economic Growth Rest on Three Weak Reeds, Russian Experts Say

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2017) Independent Russian economists say that claims by Moscow officials concerning the supposed growth in Russia’s GDP do not correspond to reality, Russian experts say. Instead, they reflect some statistical sleight of hand, the low base from which any change is calculated, and even the anomalously cold weather of recent […]

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Russia Sticks to Conservative $40 Oil Forecast for 2018 Budget

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 29, 2017) The Russian government is sticking to its conservative assumptions for oil prices as it drafts the budget for the next three years, relying mainly on domestic borrowing to finance the deficit in order to preserve its rainy-day funds. Oil prices are running above the government’s $40-a-barrel forecast, but growing supply […]

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Bondholder’s Dream Beckons as ‘Japanification’ Sweeps Russia

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – June 28, 2017 – Anna Andrianova) From the bondholder’s perspective, Russia has a lot in common with Japan and Italy. That’s a good thing, mostly. An aging population more prone to saving, combined with a “strongly conservative” economy, offer the best mix for fixed-income investors, according to Renaissance Capital. While poor demographics will haunt Russia’s growth […]

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