NEWSWATCH: “Russian economic slump shows further signs of easing” – Reuters

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russia’s GDP is still estimated to fall anywhere between 0.2 percent and 1.5 percent in 2016, depending on estimates, but … recent economic activity … showed that the slump continued to ease and fourth-quarter GDP might be positive. Retail sales, a barometer of domestic consumer demand, were down 4.8 percent, but the fall was less than the 5.8 percent seen […]

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Interfax: Foreign investors believe in Russia’s prospects despite sanctions – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – May 22, 2016) Foreign investors believe in the prospects of Russian economy and are setting up their productions here, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in the Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyev show on Rossiya 1 (VGTRK) television on May 22. “If you take a look at how many new plants are opening now [in the […]

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Putin’s Advisors to Outline Russian Economic Reform

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 23, 2016) Russia’s latest economic reform package is set to cut state spending and raise the retirement age, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Monday. The reforms, which are due to be discussed Wednesday May 25 by President Vladimir Putin’s economic council, will focus heavily on stimulating domestic investment. It is the first time the council […]

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Is neoliberalism applicable to Russia? A response to Ilya Matveev; Attempts to call the Putin regime “neoliberal” get one fundamental thing wrong: capitalism doesn’t exist in Russia.

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – May 20, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. oDR recently published an article by Ilya Matveev, “Russia, Inc”, which positioned neoliberalism as an organic part of the Putin regime. The intense discussion that followed brings us back to two central […]

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Economy Minister Says Russia Out of Recession More Than Six Months

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 20, 2016) The Russian economy has been out of recession for more than six months, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said during a briefing at the Russia-ASEAN summit on Friday, the TASS news agency reported. Russia’s GDP may perform better than the official forecast, which predicted a decline of 0.2 percent, Ulyukayev said, attributing […]

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Russia eyes $12.6 billion windfall from privatization of state companies

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

In 2016 the government intends to sell a part of the shares in its large raw commodity companies. The buyers can be foreign investors, but on certain conditions. It has already been announced that shares in Russia’s largest diamond mining company, Alrosa, will be sold through the Moscow Stock Exchange. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH […]

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Russia Retools After Crash as Post-Oil Economy Takes Shape

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – May 18, 2016) Call it a stealth overhaul. With none of the fanfare that greeted Saudi Arabia’s plan for the post-oil era, the Russian economy is quietly getting its biggest makeover under President Vladimir Putin. A trail left by crude’s collapse has turned up some unlikely survivors and even industries that found a […]

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Russia’s Single-Industry Towns to Lose 16,000 Jobs in 2016

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) More than 16,000 Russians in single-industry towns are expected to lose their jobs in 2016, the RBK news website reported Wednesday. Russia’s monotowns – cities where one industry or company provides the vast majority of local employment – have been badly hit by the financial crisis. Overall production in single-industry towns fell […]

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Russia’s Economy Shows Signs Of Stabilization In First Quarter

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 17, 2016) Russia’s economy contracted by less than expected in the first quarter of 2016 in a sign it may be stabilizing. The Russian state statistics service said on May 16 that the economy declined by 1.2 percent from a year earlier, after falling by 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 2015. Russia’s economy […]

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Russians Face Sustained Declines in Standard of Living for the Foreseeable Future, Economist Says

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 14, 2016) Dmitry Prokofyev, a St. Petersburg economist, says that barring an unexpected shock, Russia faces declines of its GDP of 1.0 – 1.5 percent a year for the foreseeable future, a trend that will exacerbate differences between life in the megalopolises which may improve somewhat and life elsewhere which will […]

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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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Russian Economy Shrank Less Than Forecast as Growth Seen Closer

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – May 16, 2016) Russia’s economy contracted less than forecast in the first quarter, leaving it closer to growth than at any time since it slid into recession last year. Gross domestic product fell 1.2 percent from a year earlier after a decline of 3.8 percent in the previous three months, the Federal Statistics […]

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Panama Papers: Are Russian entrepreneurs actually moving back onshore?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The latest information published from the Panama Papers shows that some Russian billionaires began closing their offshore companies after the beginning of the governmental de-offshorization campaign in 2015. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – rbth.ru – May 16, 2016) According to the business newspaper RBK Daily, the expanded database of the so-called Panama Papers, published in May […]

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Hedge Funds Reap Big Rewards From Roller-Coaster Russian Markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – May 15, 2016) Russian assets, which are among the most volatile in the world, are bringing hedge fund managers the best returns in emerging markets. Funds with a geographical focus on the country have gained an average 29 percent since the start of 2015, more than any others geared toward major developing nations, […]

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Russia Convenes Presidential Council to Boost Economy

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – May 12, 2016) Stuck in a second year of recession and facing a long period of economic stagnation, Russian officials are searching hard for ways to stimulate growth. On May 25, a presidential economic council will convene for the first time in three years. According to presidential aide Andrei Belousov, it aims […]

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Why Gazprom’s ‘Monopoly’ in Europe is Far from Over

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Ilana Stav – April 4, 2016) The first U.S. shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in Portugal last week and Gazprom did not immediately cut its own gas prices for Europe. While European media has hailed the entry of U.S. gas into the market as a game-changer and a monopoly-breaker, in the short term, nothing has changed […]

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Putin walks fiscal tightrope; deficits seen to 2020

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – ANDRE TARTAR AND OTT UMMELAS – May 7, 2016) If the Russian government’s in-house forecaster is right that muted oil prices are here to stay, budget deficits will stretch to the end of this decade, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Under the Economy Ministry’s projection that oil will average $40 a barrel through 2019, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Worst may be over for Russia, risks rising in central Europe: IMF”

Europe Map

The worst of the economic slump in Russia may be over the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, but warned possible euro zone stagnation and shifting politics made central Europe’s prospects increasingly uncertain. … Using forecasts produced last month, it said growth in the central channel from Poland down to Turkey would remain as healthy as 3-4 percent this year, […]

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Lower-Level State Employees Nucleus of Coming Social Revolt in Russia, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 4, 2016) The reasons Russians are protesting haven’t changed but the composition of those taking part in protests has, Boris Kagarlitsky says; and the groups that are likely to form the nucleus of a new social explosion are not the young and the pensioners as in the past but men in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kudrin and Poroshenko will fail because corruption is the system in Russia, Ukraine” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… The irony is that Russia and Ukraine find themselves in exactly the same place: both countries are suffering from an economic miasma and both need deep and far-reaching reforms if they are to prosper. The difference between them is that Russia is half way through the process and will very like actually make some more reforms, whereas Ukraine is at the […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

Alexei Kudrin file photo » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “As Russians Struggle to Pay Bills, Debt Collectors Mimic the Mob” – New York Times

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

They have stripped and sexually abused a woman, severely burned a toddler by firebombing a house and broken a woman’s pinkie as a warning. Gang members, bandits, mobsters? … These are debt collectors, a peculiarly Russian variety … flourishing amid the country’s economic turmoil. … With unpaid debts mushrooming, collection has turned into something of a blood sport reminiscent of […]

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Ex-minister joins Putin’s economic policy advisors

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 30, 2016) Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been appointed deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council, Interfax news agency reported. The decree to this effect has been published on the Russian presidential website, Interfax noted. Earlier, Kudrin became head of the Centre for Strategic Research think-tank, Interfax added. He told reporters at the time […]

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Russian Consumer Confidence Falls to Historic Lows

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 30, 2016) Consumer confidence in Russia fell to 63 points in the first quarter of this year on Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index, the lowest level since records began in 2005, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. In the same period last year, the index stood at 72 points, the newspaper reported. According to Nielsen, a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economic Pain Reveals Limits to Putin’s Power” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin

Pikalevo, about three hours east of St. Petersburg, and the rest of Russia are now mired in the country’s longest recession since … Putin came to power at the end of 1999, with the World Bank warning … that the nation’s poverty rate would increase this year to 14.2 percent of the population, “undoing nearly a decade’s worth of gains.” […]

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Nearly Half of All Russians Now Say They Can Live without Relying on the State, Sociologists Find

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 27, 2016) Given everything that has occurred in Russia over the past five years, few have noticed what can only be described as “a quiet revolution”: the percentage of Russians who say they don’t need to rely on the state has increased from 34 to 44 percent, with an ever rising […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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RBTH: Polls: Corporate corruption in Russia falls to U.S. level

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

Russian companies have recorded a drop in the number of kickbacks and bribes in their sectors, a study by Ernst & Young has revealed. According to the survey, corporate corruption in Russia has dropped so much that it is now on a par with the U.S. A similar conclusion has been reached by experts from PwC. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/DAVID FRANCIS, LARA JAKESA: “‘Sanctions Are a Failue…Let’s Admit That.’ With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth?”

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Despite Claims, Ukraine Not Free Of Russian Energy Dependence

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – April 25, 2016) Now more than two years on since the revolutionary events on Maidan and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine is still largely without its footing. Political infighting is again on the rise and the specter of massive corruption persists, stymying what have been positive, albeit small, steps toward reform. The country’s energy […]

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Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

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MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How Ukraine’s new prime minister can put Kiev on a European path. Ukraine’s new government has a tough task ahead: It must deal with a controversial legacy of governance, improve its image abroad and fulfill plans for EU integration – all while reducing the nation’s dependence on Russian gas.”

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Putin Badly Needs a Domestic Plan

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 22, 2016) The Russian government has approved a sober, and sobering, economic forecast for the next three years. The country’s prospects look so joyless that President Vladimir Putin may finally start listening to the mainstream economists who have stuck with him despite his unconcealed preference for a huge public sector tempered with […]

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Russia will watch for “adverse consequences” of Ukraine-EU deal – Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – April 21, 2016) Russia will only be “too happy” if Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU brings it economic stability and prosperity, but will take “balancing measures” if the deal has a negative impact on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This topic rather concerns the EU and Ukraine. As regards the economic aspect, to the extent that […]

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Barred From Hundreds Of Occupations In Russia, A Few Women Fight Back

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, April 17, 2016) Svetlana Medvedeva cannot rise to the top of her chosen profession for a very simple reason — she is a woman. The ambition of the 30-year-old mother of two is to earn a much better wage as the captain of a boat on the Volga River, which runs through […]

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On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016) You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And […]

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Hard Work vs. Magic

Kremlin and River

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Kennan Institute. Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – April 19, 2016) Russian officials still refer to “conditions for doing business” or “quality of governance” when discussing the country’s economic performance. But the lack of gravitas in these conversations is palpable. Russia’s official economic policymakers command an excellent understanding of the country’s economic problems, […]

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More Than Half of Russians Want New Soviet State – Poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 21, 2016) More than half of Russians would like to see the restoration of the Soviet Union, according to a poll released Tuesday. Although 58 percent of respondents said they would like to see a new socialist system, only 14 percent believed that it was likely to happen, the report by the independent Levada […]

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Russians Spend Half Their Incomes on Food For First Time Since 2008

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2016) For the first time since 2008 Russians are spending more than half their monthly income on food, as falling real incomes force them to buy only basic necessities, a study published Tuesday revealed. In February, Russians spent 50.1 percent of their earnings on food products, including alcohol and tobacco, according to the […]

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How Russia is moving ahead with its Asian pivot

Asia Map

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited Mongolia and Japan. His goal was to initiate a real “Eastern turn” in Russian foreign policy. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN, RBTH – April 20, 2016) At first glance Russia made an Eastward turn a long time before the West imposed sanctions on the country. However, until now we […]

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