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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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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Investments in Russia’s economy declining both because of structural problems, oil price drop – Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – A decline in investments in Russia’s economy can be explained by both the lower oil prices and investors’ worries about problems in Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s both this and that,” Putin said while meeting with top managers of international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday, when asked whether the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with heads of international news agencies

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with heads of leading international news agencies. The meeting was attended by representatives of news agencies from France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, India and Italy. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I have delivered so many speeches today that I […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Russian Direct Investment Fund International Expert Council and representatives of international investment community

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – June 16, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with members of the International Expert Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and representatives of the international investment community. . The President of Russia noted that during its existence the RDIF has achieved substantial results, among them, attracting over 760 billion rubles to the Russian economy. The President said the […]

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Russian Oil Producers Care More About Rubles Than Barrels

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – June 16, 2016) For Russian oil companies, the value of the ruble matters more than the price of a barrel. While OPEC celebrates the rebound in crude, Rosneft OJSC and Lukoil PJSC must keep one eye on the stronger Russian currency. That’s because the ruble’s 12 percent gain this year against the dollar […]

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Putin’s Reliance on American Commerce Has Never Been Greater

File Photo of Boeing 747, adapted from image at navy.mil

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – June 15, 2016) U.S. becomes Russia’s No. 5 partner as trade war hits EU worse Boeing, Cargill, Yum! lead U.S. companies expanding in Russia President Vladimir Putin loves to reel off statistics, but here’s one he may not trumpet at his annual investment forum in St. Petersburg this week: Russia’s reliance […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

EU Map

(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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Economy ministry expects rate cut to have moderate impact, sees room for further cut

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s decision on Friday to lower its key interest rate to 10.5% from 11% will have a positive, but “fairly moderate” impact on the economy, and there is still room for a further rate cut, a spokesman for the Economic Development Ministry told Interfax. “This decision will have a positive impact, […]

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Getting Each Other Wrong

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – June 14, 2016) Politicians have to walk the walk in order to be credible. This is even more true in today’s world, given the rise of populist demagoguery and the sorry state of trust between the most important players. The dialogue taking place between Russia, the U.S., […]

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Russians Are Struggling to Afford Medication

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 10, 2016) “Pharmacies have become like jewelry shops,” complained a man during this year’s annual phone-in with the Russian president. Vladimir Putin’s response was to reassure the man that his government planned to control rising medicine prices. When asked whether he used foreign or Russian-made medication, the president replied that he […]

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Chink of light as World Bank improves forecast for Russian economy

World Bank Building

Russian analysts cite the rise in oil prices and economic reforms, including the devaluation of the ruble, among the main reasons for the recent improvement in the country’s economic performance. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA EGOROVA, RBTH – June 10, 2016) There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered Russian economy; […]

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Putin’s Core Support Begins to Waver; Working-class Russians hurt by recession look for someone to blame-in an election year

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – June 9, 2016) Russia embarks on an almost two-year-long election season this summer that ends with a presidential contest in 2018. But unlike previous years, the country’s faltering economy has taken its toll on lower-income voters who blame the Duma and the cabinet for their plight. Five years ago, allegations of vote rigging […]

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Ordinary Russians Mistakenly Placing Their Hopes in Donald Trump, Bykov Says

Donald Trump

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 8, 2016) That Vladimir Putin should express his admiration and support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is no surprise. Not only does Trump reflect some of the same populist and nationalist themes the Kremlin leader does, but Putin welcomes Trump’s unilateralism and isolationism as something that might benefit Russia. […]

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