Russia’s latest anti-crisis plan: How will it work?

Kremlin and River

The Russian government is making fresh attempts to lead the economy out of the crisis, primarily by investing in industry. RBTH analyzes the Kremlin’s latest anti-crisis plan and offers three alternative strategies for overcoming the crisis. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – February 4, 2016) At the beginning of 2016 the signs for the Russian […]

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Russia sees 1% January inflation, annual falls to single figures – Rosstat

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) – Russia had 1% inflation in January 2016, compared with 0.8% in both December and November 2015, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Analysts told Interfax in a consensus forecast at the end of January that they thought inflation for the month would be 1%. Inflation soared to 3.9% in January 2015 – the highest […]

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More Than Half of Russians Negative on State of Economy – Poll

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 5, 2016) More than half of Russians have a negative outlook for the economic situation, the highest amount since the country’s financial crisis began, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday, citing a recent poll. According to the results of the poll carried out by the Obshchestvennoye Mnenie (Public Opinion) Foundation, 54 percent of Russians now […]

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Can Russia Be More Miserable? Judging by Oil, the Answer Is Yes

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Combining inflation and unemployment, Russia is among the world’s unhappiest economies (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – February 4, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-04/can-russia-be-more-miserable-judging-by-oil-the-answer-is-yes] The sinking price of crude has Russia hostage over a barrel of oil. For an inkling of how unhappy everyday Russians have gotten as Brent crude heads further south, take a look at the Misery Index […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with the core group of the Leaders Club

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the core group of the Leaders Club, an informal association of small and medium business owners from various economic sectors. The Leaders Club was established in February 2012 and is engaged primarily in having businesspeople provide independent evaluations of conditions for doing business in Russia’s regions and the quality of state […]

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Oil prices could reach $40 a barrel if Russia made deal with OPEC

Oil Well file photo

Analysts say that if Russia reduces its oil production by 5 percent, black gold prices may increase to $40 a barrel and over. However, the Russian government admits that it has no real control over production policy in private companies, though firms may reduce production themselves due to the fall in hydrocarbon prices. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Kremlin: Privatization of Russian companies open for foreign investors

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

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) Privatization of Russian companies is open for foreign investors, and Russia is interested in attracting new foreign partners, the Kremlin has said. “Russia has always been interested in foreign investors; we value cooperation with those who continue to operate on the Russian market and we are interested in an inflow of fresh investments,” Kremlin press […]

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Putin Says No Privatization at Knockdown Prices

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin on Monday threw cold water on proposals to quickly sell stakes in state companies to fill holes in Russia’s budget. “There should be no sale of shares cheaply, at giveaway prices. This won’t bring particular benefit to the budget,” Putin said at a meeting with officials and heads of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on privatisation

Empty Boardroom

(Kremlin.ru – February 1, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting to discuss privatisation issues. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. We have met today to discuss the Government’s privatisation plans for 2016. I have just looked over a few issues with [Prime Minister] Mr Medvedev. The privatisation process plays an important part in changing the Russian economy’s structure […]

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Economic Minister says moderate economic growth possible in Russia in 2016

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev does not rule out the possibility of the Russian economy shifting to moderate growth in 2016. “A shift is already possible this year, perhaps, to moderate, recovery growth in the economy for the time being. We should be prepared for this,” Ulyukayev said at a ministry meeting on Feb. 2. […]

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Inflation Is Most Worrying Problem for Russians – Poll

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 2, 2016) The number of Russians that consider high inflation one of the country’s biggest problems increased sharply in January, a survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM revealed Tuesday. Twelve percent of Russians were concerned about rising prices in December, but in January that number jumped to 20 percent, according to the poll. Other problems […]

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Russians put economy, inflation on top of most pressing national problems

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) The economy, inflation, and low living standards have been viewed by the public as the top three most pressing problems in Russia, for the past six months, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said. The economy was the number one problem in the January rating. Concerns about economic affairs started growing in November […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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As Ruble Nosedives, Russians Are Priced Out Of Live-Saving Western Treatment

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – February 1, 2016) As the ruble continues its catastrophic tumble, hitting another historic low last month, the pain is being felt keenly across Russia. Among those worst hit are patients in need of urgent surgery abroad or other life-saving treatment billed in foreign currencies. “It all started with a bad cough and a […]

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Four Russias: the new political reality

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

Uneven modernisation has left its mark on Russia, and the authorities are only too happy to exploit it. What does the future hold for Russia’s regional divide? (opendemocracy.net/American Enterprise Institute – Natalia Zubarevich – February 1, 2016) Natalia Zubarevich is a professor in the Department of Geography at Moscow State University and the director of the regional program at the […]

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Who benefits and who loses from revocation of anti-Iranian sanctions

Iran Map and Flag

If Moscow plays its cards correctly, it will be able to strengthen its positions not only in Iran but also throughout the entire Middle East. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN – January 29, 2016) The lifting of sanctions against Iran has generated an entire wave of speculation about the upcoming reformation of the Middle East. However, […]

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The Upside of a Down Ruble

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 29, 2016) President Vladimir Putin chose an unfortunate time to trumpet the “additional opportunities” for Russian companies arising from a weaker ruble. As he spoke to delegates at a business forum on Jan. 20, the Russian currency was gyrating wildly. The next day it plummeted to its lowest level in recent […]

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Russia Improves Position in International Corruption Rating

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 27, 2016) Russia was ranked 119th – together with Azerbaijan, Guyana and Sierra Leone – in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, up 17 points from its 2014 position. The rating was published on Transparency International’s website. In the 2014 index, Russia was ranked 136th, just behind Nigeria. Russia was 127th in 2013 and […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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RBTH: Investors could benefit from Russia’s economic turmoil

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

As the Russian economy hits hard times, with business incomes falling, government spending facing cuts and the ruble losing value, RBTH spoke to Sergei Katyrin, president of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to find out how foreign companies are enduring the current “perfect storm” for business. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ILYA KROL, RBTH – January 28, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Flu Virus Microscopic Image (adpated from image at CDC.gov)

(Kremlin.ru -January 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on support measures for various sectors and other current issues. The meeting began with a report, at the President’s request, from Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova on the epidemiological situation in Russia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, we will discuss support measures for several economic […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev to discuss current economic situation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ulyukayev, we are summing up last year’s results. Though it may yet be early to speak of final results, the numbers at the disposal of your Ministry are very close to […]

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Nine lingering myths about Russia

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

We are often held prisoner by imposed stereotypes and opinions about countries, people and events. RBTH has collected nine myths about Russia that are far from accurate. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALYA PUKHOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 26, 2016) 1. The death rate in Russia is higher than its birth rate There is a widespread belief […]

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Russians suggest state should save money on officials, not on social policy

Kremlin and River

(Interfax – January 27, 2016) In the situation of the crisis, Russians support the idea of saving money on officials, but believe it is unacceptable to cut the costs of healthcare, social policy, science and education, sociologists have reported, citing a poll conducted by VTsIOM. The poll, which surveyed 1,600 people, in 130 populated areas in 46 regions, was conducted […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow/Mikhail Krutikhin: “The Russian Oil Industry in the Era of Cheap Crude. A recent slight increase in Russia’s oil output is likely to be short-lived. Oil production may decline almost twofold by the end of the year due to a lack of financing for new field exploration and development.”

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Russians’ Real Wages Fall 9.5% in 2015

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 26, 2016) As Russia’s inflation reached double-digits last year, Russians saw their real wages decline by 9.5 percent compared to 2014, data published by the Rosstat state statistics service showed Monday. In December 2015, real wages of Russians dropped 10 percent when compared to the same month in 2014, according to Rosstat data. The […]

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At Davos forum Russia promises to eliminate its dependence on oil

Oil Well file photo

Russian representatives announced imminent large-scale economic reforms at the World Economic Forum. The proposed changes would affect the country’s dependence on oil and the facilitation of investors accessing the market. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – January 25, 2016) Low oil prices are helping the Russian government carry out large-scale reforms despite the drastic reduction […]

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Record Number of Russians Empty-Handed at New Year – Poll

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 25, 2016) Twenty-three percent of Russians received no gifts for New Year – the highest percentage for six years, according to a poll conducted by state-run pollster VTsIOM. For those who did receive gifts, the most popular items were sweets, alcohol and delicacies – these items were received by 24 percent of respondents, according […]

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The poorer Russians get, the happier they become and other mysteries

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

Sometimes sociological surveys capture paradoxical results. For example, for some reason Russians on the whole feel happier when they are poorer and many people that claim to be Orthodox Christians do not go to church and do not believe in God. As the famous 19th century poet Fyodr Tyutchev once said, “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone.” (Russia […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Oil: Output Grows as Prospects Shrink. Plummeting prices and U.S.-led sanctions raise questions about Russian oil’s capacity to continue underwriting Putin’s global ambitions.” – Wall Street Journal

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Facing Oil Price Plunge, Russia Considers Fire Sale of State Companies

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 22, 2016) Russian officials are touting a new wave of privatization to fill the hole in the government’s finances caused by the slumping oil price. With the cost of crude falling toward $30 per barrel early in the year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced that 1 trillion rubles ($12.5 billion) could […]

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Kudrin: Sanctions against Russia could start to ease late 2016-early 2017

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – January 22, 2016) Relations between Russia and the West are normalizing and sanctions will be lifted, Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister, said. “I’m sure the sanctions will start to soften at the end of this year or start of next year. Nobody in Russia wants to keep up confrontation. I think the Minsk accords will be […]

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