Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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How Bad are Things in Russia Today? Some People There are Now Pawning Their Teeth

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 21, 2015) The worsening economic situation in Russia is highlighted by many things but none more compelling than the fact that it is forcing ever more people there to pawn whatever items of value they have – including their teeth — and then not to be in a position to reclaim […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Why is Russia postponing the privatization of its oil companies?”

Oil Well file photo

The Russian government has announced that it will postpone the privatization of state share packages in the Rosneft and Bashneft oil companies. Russian analysts believe that this is because the price being asked is not acceptable to buyers.

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Stealing a Peek at Russian Economic Uptick Before It Happens

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – August 11, 2016) Prone to false starts since a crisis peaked last year, Russia’s economy is riding momentum that has it on the cusp of exiting the longest recession in two decades. As business sentiment perks up, leading indicators from demand for electricity to rail cargoes and container transport show the pulse of […]

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Experts Predict ‘Lost Decade’ For Russia’s Stagnating Economy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

A lack of dialogue on economic incentives could threaten future growth (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Prokopenko, Margarita Papchenkova – August 19, 2016) #Russia’s #economy needs powerful external stimuli or fundamental domestic reform in order to avoid further stagnation, a report from the Centre of Development at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) has claimed. The country’s gross domestic […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian government finds itself under social spending pressure in election season” – bne Intellinews

Two Babushkas file photo

The Russian government will discuss either indexing pensions by 8.6% on September 1 or making a one-time payment to pensioners …. Despite the ongoing efforts to consolidate the budget amid the unprecedented fiscal squeeze, the government might have to give in to increasing social spending as the two-year election season starts …. The Russian government needs to find RUB2 trillion ($31bn) from somewhere […]

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Russia’s New Poor Ashamed of Their Poverty and Try to Hide It, Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 16, 2016) In Russia today, with the gap between rich and poor again widening, Olga Simonova says, “poverty is viewed not as an individual’s misfortune but as his fault.” As a result, while they complain to pollster, Russia’s new poor do not turn to the state even when it could help […]

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On Russian studies [and Re: “Opportunities and Constraints of Authoritarian Modernisation: Russian Policy Reforms in the 2000s”]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: On Russian studies Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2016 From: Brian D Taylor <bdtaylor@maxwell.syr.edu> Thanks again for all you do with JRL. It’s a very valuable resource. I would like to say, though, that “real Russian studies” are not particularly rare. If you ask social scientists who study Russia, they could point you to many detailed analyses of practically every […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Ukraine and Russia Need Each Other” – Nicolai Petro/Russian Politics

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Ukraine needs ….  the restoration of those economic ties with Russia that clearly benefit the Ukrainian economy, at least until Ukraine develops stable alternative markets. …. a stop gap measure needed to stop the hemorrhaging of resources, manpower, and capital, and to win Ukraine time and breathing space for economic reform …. Nor do I see it as a matter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Public Assessments of the Putin Policy Program: Achievements and Challenges” – John P. Willerton/Russian Politics

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

A decade and a half into the Putin team’s tenure, what are Russians’ policy concerns, and how do they accord with Putin team priorities and actions? What is the level of public support for Putin and his team, and how do Russians assess the Putin team’s policy record to date? * * * … survey results reveal that Putin and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Turkey’s Erdogan Patches Up Relations With Putin” – Wall Street Journal

Turkey map

… Putin and … Erdogan mended fences in a high-profile meeting Tuesday, bolstering their governments’ ties as both face strained relations with the West. … Erdogan’s first trip abroad since the Turkish coup attempt … signals his willingness to look to Moscow, traditionally the counterweight to Western influence in the Middle East. But Western leaders say Turkey … crucial to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – August 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref to discuss the bank’s results for the last year, the situation on the housing mortgage market, and financial support measures for small businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, I know that the bank’s work has been not […]

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Vladimir Putin Is His Economy’s Worst Enemy

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – July 27, 2016 – Editorial) Russian President Vladimir Putin urgently needs to revive his country’s economy. His greatest obstacle will be himself. While Americans argue about the extent of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is battling a recession at home. To that end, he has recently focused on the ruble’s exchange rate: A […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of ASI Expert Council

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Expert Council, which is marking its 5th anniversary. The President also visited an exhibition presenting projects that have received ASI support over various years, in particular, new developments in medicine, communications, transport, housing and utilities, agriculture, continued and vocational education, and […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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Putin Debt Binge Indulged While Russia Looks Good Next to Europe

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov, Natasha Doff – July 20, 2016) No one’s complaining about record debt in Russia next year as an influx of foreign investors helps the government borrow its way out of recession. The Finance Ministry plans to quadruple domestic debt issuance to $20 billion in 2017 to fund a growing budget shortfall and avoid depleting […]

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Russia’s Consumers Still in Shock as They Cut Back on Food and Medicine

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 19, 2016) With stores from near the Arctic to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, Magnit PJSC would be the first to know when the Russian consumer is back. Instead, the nation’s largest supermarket chain has just come across something it’s never seen. Billionaire Sergey Galitskiy’s retailer, which operates almost 13,000 outlets […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) Boris Titov presented to the President the Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights annual report. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon Mr Titov. Have you prepared your report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. I am ready to present what will be my third report since my appointment as Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights. […]

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Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/oil-must-go-to-40-and-stay-there-to-buy-russia-reforms-at-last] At an oil price of $40 or below, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a flat income tax, built a sovereign wealth fund and delivered speeches to the Bundestag in German. When it was over $100, he fought two wars with neighbors and splashed over $40 […]

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Despite Putin Jibes, Russia Places Hope In ‘Brexiteer’ Boris Johnson

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, July 14, 2016) In a single sentence, he once called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “manipulative tyrant” and likened him to the big-eared, bug-eyed “house elf” from the Harry Potter series. But the surprise appointment of Boris Johnson to head the British Foreign Office is being cautiously welcomed by Moscow — and […]

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PRESS RELEASE: Jamestown Launches ‘Russia in Decline’ Project

Kremlin and River

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – July 14, 2016) JAMESTOWN LAUNCHES ‘RUSSIA IN DECLINE’ PROJECT The Jamestown Foundation is proud to officially unveil a special project, Russia in Decline, which seeks to shed light on the possible futures facing the Russian Federation based on currently observable trends of a country trapped on a downward trajectory. This project is headed by longtime […]

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Reluctantly, Russia Starts Sell-Off of Major State Companies

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobso – July 14, 2016) Back in April, President Vladimir Putin was asked at a press conference why he planned to sell state companies just when the market was at bottom. Putin’s reply was blunt: “We need the money.” Russia was, after all, in a bind. A deep recession and plunging oil prices meant […]

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Putin Peers Into Shadows Where 30 Million Toil on Fringes

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov – July 13, 2016) Just about every other worker in Russia has gone missing. Uncounted by statisticians and invisible to tax collectors, a population the size of Texas — or about 30 million people — plies its trade in the nooks and crannies of what’s become known as the “garage economy.” There, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 13, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired the first meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Before the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects. Standing (from left to right): Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Sitting: Education and Science Minister Dmitry […]

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Putin Isn’t About to Let Go of the Crown Jewels After Alrosa

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov – July 12, 2016) Hatched in harsh economic times, Russia’s latest wave of privatization is off to a mixed start, and a sequel is by no means guaranteed. The sale of a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa PJSC was the biggest divestment of a state asset since the government reduced its stake […]

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Russia’s Savior From Oil’s Drop Is Now Snuffing Out Recovery

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – July 6, 2016) Russia is finding the flip side of a flexible currency less and less appealing. A free-floating ruble, its antidote to the crash in oil prices, is now working against an economy mired in the second year of recession. As crude soared by more than a third in March and April, […]

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Here’s What Putin Wants From Central Bank as Elections Near

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 5, 2016) Helping your president win elections doesn’t have to compromise a central bank’s independence, at least not in Russia. Monetary policy is aligning with politics before Vladimir Putin’s biggest test at the ballot box since he returned to the presidency in 2012. By claiming the upper hand in the […]

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After Initial ‘Painful Reaction,’ Russians ‘Quietly Adapting to Crisis,’ New Survey Finds

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 5, 2016) Dostoyevsky’s observation that “man is not a pig; he can get used to anything” is being confirmed by the attitudes of Russians about the economic crisis they find themselves in. If their first response was to cry out in pain, now, a new study finds, they “quietly adapting” to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Prokhorov’s Onexim says not selling all Russian assets” – Reuters

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

Onexim Group, owned by tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, said on Monday a newspaper report suggesting it had decided to sell all its assets in Russia was inaccurate. * * * On Monday, Vedomosti newspaper had reported that Prokhorov was searching for buyers of all his assets in Russia, quoting multiple unnamed sources. Onexim owns stakes in aluminium giant Rusal, potash producer […]

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Russian Oil Exports Set for Record as Europe Competition Grows

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman and Dina Khrennikova – July 3, 2016) Russian crude exports are on track to set a record this year, which is intensifying competition in Europe as Iran boosts shipments to the region. Exports rose 4.9 percent to 5.55 million barrels a day in the first half of the year from the same period in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Alexei Repik, President of Delovaya Rossiya national public organisation

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – June 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin discussed with Delovaya Rossiya President Alexei Repik the results of the union’s activity over the past 15 years and ways of improving the business climate in Russia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Repik. This year marks 15 years since Delovaya Rossiya was founded. A great deal has been accomplished during […]

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Russia Seeks to Reassure Over Brexit Volatility

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Daniel Schearf – June 29, 2016) As Britain and Europe struggle to come to terms with the British vote in favor of leaving the European Union, financial markets are roiling across the globe, including in Russia. Even before the vote for a British EU exit, the head of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, warned that […]

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Russian markets rode out Brexit volatility fairly smoothly – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. June 30 (Interfax) – Russian markets made it through the surge in volatility caused by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union fairly smoothly, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at a financial conference on Thursday. “Speaking about Brexit, in or estimate its direct influence on the Russian financial system and economy will be fairly limited. We’ve […]

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Russia Takes $6.2 Billion Bite Out of Banks to Soak Up Cash

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Anna Baraulina – June 28, 2016) It’s been blamed for fighting inflation at the expense of the economy and turning its targets into “fetishes.” Now Russian lenders say the central bank’s latest swipe at price risks is putting pressure on their bottom line and credit. Reserve-ratio requirements will be increased by 75 basis points […]

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The Corner of Russia’s Economy Where Crisis Rages Unabated

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – June 26, 2016) As Russia’s government counts the months to an economic rebound, a bellwether of investment is nearing levels of distress last seen during the throes of a recession seven years ago. The value of construction works plunged 9 percent from a year earlier in May, the worst showing since October, even […]

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Wealthy Russian Families Lose Up to 75% of Their Income in 2015

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 24, 2016) Wealthy Russian families lost between 25 and 75 percent of their income in 2015, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday, citing the Russian Wealth Report 2016. On average, families with an annual income between 15 million and 100 million rubles ($235,000 to $1.5 million) lost 45 percent of their revenue, according to […]

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RBTH: Four possible effects of Brexit on Russia’s economy

EU Map

Rather than being a boon, UK’s possible exit from the EU could cast the Russian economy into troubled waters. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, KIRA EGOROVA, RBTH – June 27, 2016) Despite Russia being called one of Brexit’s possible beneficiaries, in reality the UK’s potential exit from the EU poses more risks for the Russian economy […]

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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

EU Map

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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