NEWSWATCH: “Continue the Unfinished Business of Integrating Russia into the Global Economy. Renewed economic interaction would increase the West’s influence, not lessen it” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/J. Andrew Spindler

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump has an unusual opportunity … to improve the tone of U.S.-Russian relations, currently at one of their lowest ebbs …. The positive possibilities in the short run are substantial …. the potential for a U.S.-Russian collaboration in the Middle East, particularly with regard to defeating ISIS and developing a peace plan for Syria. … there are many other […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ahead of promised cut, Russia’s oil output hits record high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia plans to use its November oil production … its highest in almost 30 years, as its baseline when it cuts output under [a] deal with OPEC …. Russia … promised to gradually cut output by up to 300,000 … bpd … aimed at supporting oil prices. Its daily oil production rose to an average of 11.21 million bpd in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin gives a Soviet-style state of the union, and some #Russian eyes glazed over” – Washington Post/David Filipov/Andrew Roth

Kremlin and River

… Putin called for better ties with the United States in his annual address … while brushing away … concerns about Kremlin interference in other countries. But the moment that went ­viral … was … Medvedev, eyes turned down, appearing to doze off. Whether the premier was napping or … checking his notes …. In a businesslike tone that recalled a Soviet […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

… pledging … deep domestic reforms to wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore the country’s global reputation … Putin may be putting [his] powers to the test. … analysts say this may be the last chance to start delivering. … Putin … clearly realizes that … approval ratings depend heavily on … public […]

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IMF: Russian Economy Will Contract 0.6 Percent in 2016, Recover In 2017

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – November 30, 2016) The International Monetary Fund said the Russian economy should continue to contract this year, with gross domestic product dropping 0.6 percent, but says it will begin recovering in 2017. The projections from the Washington-based IMF, issued November 29 after a team visited Moscow earlier this month, were roughly in line with other Russian […]

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Russians Toast Recession as Pubgoers Drink ‘Less But Better’

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov, Andrey Lemeshko – November 30, 2016) A staple drink of Russia’s recession comes in different flavors but it’s best consumed standing up. Food is optional. Not a beer country until the arrival a decade ago of a central European tradition of sit-down bars that married brews with hearty meals, Russia is now reveling in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Maxim Oreshkin

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – November 30, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Oreshkin, how long have you been working as Deputy Finance Minister now? Maxim Oreshkin: Practically two years. Vladimir Putin: Two years. Before this, you were… Maxim Oreshkin: Department Director at the Finance Ministry, and before that, I was in banking, at VTB and the international bank. Vladimir Putin: You […]

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Russia’s Central Bank Wants You to Believe; Governor Elvira Nabiullina has introduced her own version of forward guidance. The results are mixed.

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – November 29, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-29/russia-s-central-bank-wants-you-to-believe] When central bankers start making predictions about what they’re going to do in the future, reality often has other plans. Just ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, or Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Recent attempts at so-called “forward guidance” — telling the public how interest rates […]

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NEWSLINK CNN: “Dining under Putin: How sanctions are fueling a Russian food revolution”

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“Import bans have failed to put the kibosh on Russia’s culinary inventiveness. Restaurants are returning to what Russia does best, such as traditional dishes made with root vegetables such as beetroot.”

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

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – November 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects to discuss support for non-resource exports and environmental development. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today we will look into measures to support non-resource exports and to improve the environmental situation in the country. We need to form a […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia’s economic line after minister’s dismissal to remain unchanged – view” [Andrei Kostin]

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

“The dismissal of Alexei Ulyukayev from position of the economic development minister would not affect the country’s economic line, VTB’s CEO Andrei Kostin said ….”

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NEWSLINK bne Intellinews: “Russia’s Watcom shopping index back at 2015 levels as consumption recovers”

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

“… The Russian shopping footfall index accelerated once again in the 44th week of the year as consumer confidence gathers momentum and the hoi polloi go shopping thanks to a slew of improving (but still far from ideal) macroeconomic indicators, according to the Watcom Shopping index. …”

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Kudrin’s 13 Points about What Russia Must Do to Overcome Its Backwardness

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 21, 2016) At the conclusion of the All-Russian Civic Forum, Aleksey Kudrin, the head of the Civic Initiatives Committee, outlined his ideas about what Russia needs to do over the next 20 years to avoid disaster and return to modernization and democracy. Znak’s Dmitry Kolesev has organized them as 13 theses. […]

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Putin Optimistic About OPEC Deal, Russia Is Ready to Freeze

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 21, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees no obstacles to an OPEC agreement this month after oil exporters made major progress in overcoming differences as he reaffirmed Russia is willing to freeze crude output at current levels. “Whether an agreement will be reached, I can’t say 100 percent, but there’s […]

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How the Russian Economy Hit Rock Bottom

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Prokopenko – November 17, 2016) The decline of the Russian economy has slowed, according to the State Statistics Service. The Economic Development Ministry has stated that gross domestic product rose by just 0.1 percent from the second to the third quarter of 2016. However, it is still too early to talk about a recovery […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Kremlin turns to Jewish diaspora in bid to build ties with Donald Trump”

Donald Trump

“Seeking contacts with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, the Russian leadership has turned to its connections in Jewish business circles, Gazeta.ru has learned. Despite accusations of xenophobia, Trump maintains good relations with the Jewish community and intends to involve his son-in-law Jared Kushner in his administration.”

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Cheapest Labor Since Tsars Ruled Russia a Draw for Samsung, Ikea

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Ilya Khrennikov – November 16, 2016) Made in Russia and coming soon to a store shelf near you: washing machines, chewing gum and possibly much else. A combination of the country’s worst currency crisis since 1998 and an unprecedented slide in real wages for most of the past two years has resulted in salaries […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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Updates: Russian Economy Minister Ulyukayev Appears in Court on Corruption Charge

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

The longstanding minister has been formally charged on corruption allegations. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 15, 2016) Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has appeared in Moscow’s Baumansky court to face corruption allegations. Ulyukayev was charged with accepting a $2-million bribe on Tuesday, having been arrested by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) late on Monday night. The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Visit to Avtodizel plant (excerpt)

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 12, 2016) [DJ: For a better sense of real issues in Russia that concern Putin read the complete long transcript here: en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/53244] During his trip to Yaroslavl, Vladimir Putin visited the Avtodizel Yaroslavl Motor Plant, part of the GAZ Group, which produces goods under the YaMZ brand. The President saw the production process and met with the […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Central Bank anticipates remaining anti-Russia sanctions”

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“The recovery may be stretched over time at present because [economic growth] factors should be different, unlike those before the oil price collapse. We understand this pretty well and speak about changing the behavior model of the economy and its development model. Economic recovery signs surfaced by now and the Bank of Russia expects minor growth of GDP,” Nabiullina said.

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “World Bank upgrades its forecast for the Russian economy; Prediction a significant improvement over June report”

World Bank Building

On Nov. 9, the World Bank released its latest forecast for the Russian economy. The prediction was better than expected, showing the Russian economy shrinking by 0.6 percent in 2016, then rising by 1.5 percent in 2017 and by 1.7 percent in 2018. In June, the World Bank predicted that Russia’s GDP would fall by 1.2 percent in 2016.

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russian PM says Trump’s victory not to affect macroeconomic forecast”

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

“‘As you know, we have an extremely conservative variant (of a macroeconomic forecast), a conservative one, a more or less optimistic scenario, but if you think that we should create a “Trump forecast” for our budget, it will not happen,’ the Prime Minister said.”

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NEWSLINK Business New Europe: “Russian Markets Hit Record High On Trump Optimism”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s ruble denominated Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) index set a new all time high of 2061.68 on November 10 on the bounce back that followed the election of Donald Trump as US president. Trump is seen as good news for Russia that is fuelling hopes of a de-escalation in tensions between the countries. The previous MICEX high was set […]

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Half of Russians at Risk of Poverty, Says World Bank

World Bank Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 10, 2016) Half of Russia’s population risks falling into poverty, a report from the World Bank has revealed. Some 21.4 million people – or 14.6 percent of the population – fell below Russia’s national poverty line in the first half of 2016, with disposable incomes shrinking on average by 5.8 percent. The number of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – November 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the international conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place, organised by Russia’s oldest bank, Sberbank, to mark its 175th anniversary. The conference focused on forecasting and analysing future technology trends, discussing the main outlines for technological development, and examining the potential benefits and risks their mass use could bring. […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Putin: Russia to embark on new technological trends for transition to new economy”

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is certain that Russia must sense and embark on the newest trends in science and engineering to make transition to a new economy.”  

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Putin Wonders If Trump Win Might Just Be Too Good to Be True

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 10, 2016) It didn’t take long for Russia to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump. Lawmakers burst into applause when Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton was announced in the country’s parliament Wednesday. Minutes later, President Vladimir #Putin telegraphed his congratulations to the political neophyte who had gushed with admiration […]

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Russia hopes for good relations with U.S., but financial policy making to stay conservative – Siluanov

Anton Siluanov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – Russia is hoping to make progress in relations with the United States, but will make sure it is in a position to honor its commitments in any scenario by not factoring possible improvements into its financial policy, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters. “We pursue an economic and fiscal policy that does not and must […]

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NEWSLINK bne Intellinews: “What does a Trump presidency mean for Russia?”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Finally, the most divisive and disruptive election in modern US history is over: Donald Trump will occupy the White House for at least the next four years, starting in late January. The question that many in Russia and those who have or are considering investing in Russia are asking is, what does a Trump president actually mean for Russia risk?” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “World Bank Improves Russia Economic Outlook, Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in 2017” – Reuters

World Bank Building

… the World Bank said …. Russian gross domestic product will contract by 0.6 percent … oil prices are projected to recover to an average of $55 per barrel in 2017 [and] the Russian economy is expected to bottom out in the second half of this year. The World Bank sees it growing by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.7 […]

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For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes/Sara Hsu: “Is A Russia-China Economic Alliance On The Horizon?”

Asia Map

“As Russia continues to contend with sanctions from the United States and European Union after annexing Crimea in 2014, it has cast its eye on a new ally: China. The two countries are already aligning themselves for security purposes, a prime example being their position against the U.S. missile shield deployment plans in South Korea. Both China and Russia have […]

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NEWSLINK Politics.eu: “Russia’s boom (farming) economy. Kremlin credits Western sanctions. The truth is more complicated.”

Field of Grain file photo

“… When the West slapped sanctions on Russia in 2014 and Moscow retaliated with a trade embargo, the consensus was that Moscow was shooting itself in the foot by banning fresh produce from the EU. A little more than two years later, the Kremlin insists the sanctions have galvanized a new generation of Stakhanovite farmers to smash production targets and propel the country […]

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Russia Supreme Court Proposes Ban on Pre-Trial Detention for Economic Crimes

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2016) The plenum of Russia’s Supreme Court has proposed banning the arrest of individuals accused of several varieties of economic crimes, the Prime news agency reported Thursday. According to the proposal, suspects can still be detained, but cannot be kept in pre-trial detention if they stand accused of several economic crimes: commercial fraud, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Can Russia repopulate its Far East with the offer of free land?”

File Photo of People Working on Car in Siberian Woodlands

The government plans to tempt Russians with a complimentary hectare in one of the country’s most remote regions – but the initiative faces a number of problems that need to be solved if it is to become a success. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLGA VLASOVA, RBTH – November 4, 2016) Have you ever dreamed of acquiring land […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s oil output in October hits new post-Soviet era high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia’s oil output set a new post-Soviet era record high in October, rising 0.1 percent from September to 11.2 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data showed …. underscor[ing] the difficulty the government could have in freezing output levels as part of a global pact with other top producers [to impact prices] …. Oil and gas sales account for […]

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Putin’s Maverick Adviser Defies Nabiullina With $64 Billion Plan

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – October 30, 2016) Sergei Glazyev agrees with President Vladimir Putin that shock therapy would be ill-advised for Russia. Which is also where he parts ways with his boss. Ever since the central bank’s shift to a free-floating exchange rate in late 2014, the country has been under the onslaught of policies that have […]

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Russians Turning Against Putin Regime Thus Making Revolutionary Change More Likely, Solovey Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 30, 2016) Deep background sociological research is showing that Russia is at the beginning of “a significant transformation of mass consciousness” that will eliminate much of the loyalty to the regime that the populace now shows in a way that will recall what happened at the end of Soviet times, Valery […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s renewed might rests on weak economic foundations. Putin bravado does not extend to modernisation of the economy” – Financial Times/Neil Buckley

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

… the gap between the image … Putin portrayed … and the reality was exposed by a sobering assessment of Russia’s economy by another senior official … further emphasised by a draft budget … envisaging a 27 per cent cut in defence spending …. the official … made it clear how Russia’s ambitions clash with its capabilities. … western sanctions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China. Nostalgia for Communist past as well as capitalist bargain-hunting draw more Chinese visitors.” – Wall Street Journal

Asia Map

Russia’s relations with the West have deteriorated amid the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and its economy has been battered by punitive sanctions and low oil prices. But the country is welcoming record numbers of Chinese visitors, who are taking advantage of a weak ruble, visa-free group travel, and the opportunity to retrace Communist history. … More than 1.1 million […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/RBC: “Is it necessary to break the law to improve your standard of living?”

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

According to the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), 30 percent of Russians see a link between increasing their standard of living and breaking the law.

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Russian Popular Front’s interregional forum

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – Yalta – October 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the interregional forum Action Forum. Crimea, organised by the Russian Popular Front (ONF). Main themes on the agenda include the energy sector, gas supplies, developing Crimea’s agriculture sector and tourism potential, improving access to education, quality of service in the housing and utilities sector, […]

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U.S. Stuck With Nobody Left to Sanction in Russia Over Syria

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nick Wadhams – October 26, 2016) The U.S. put sanctions on Russia’s main arms exporter, Kremlin aides and the black leather-loving head of a motorcycle gang nicknamed “The Surgeon” after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Now, as Washington seeks ways to punish Moscow for its actions in Syria, it may be running out of options. President […]

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Russia’s Oil Industry Is Making The Most Of A Weak Ruble; Record Oil Production and Capital Spending Supported by Favorable FX Rate

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – October 21, 2016) While Russian federal revenue from oil and natural gas production has declined significantly in response to low oil prices, oil and natural gas companies have actually increased investments or only seen modest declines, according to the EIA. In ruble terms, the Brent price has actually increased by 40 percent from 2010 levels, while decreasing in […]

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The Russian Paradox: Why the Economic Crisis hasn’t Sparked Political Protest

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 22, 2016) Most countries suffering from an economic situation as dire as that of the Russian Federation would see public support turn massively away from the incumbent administration and major political as well as economic protests as well. But in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, neither has happened. While there has been a […]

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