Who’s On The List? Russia’s Elite Nervous About New U.S. Sanctions

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

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON – January 15, 2018 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-sanctions-list-putin-circle-elite-nervous/28976991.html) There’s a chill settling in over Moscow, and it’s not just the arctic temperatures that typically smother the Russian capital in January. As U.S. officials put the finishing touches on new financial and travel sanctions against Russia, […]

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Forcing Repatriation of Funds Won’t Solve Russia’s Economic Problem, Gontmakher Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2017) Many including some in the Kremlin believe that forcing oligarchs to repatriate the money they have sheltered abroad will go a long way to solve Russia’s economic problems, Yevgeny Gontmakher says; but they are wrong: far more will have to happen for any money returned to make a major […]

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Lucy Komisar: Re: “Developments re Browder”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Subject: Developments re Browder Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2017 From: Lucy Komisar you might be interested in one of these 1 About the new Magnitsky List – Browder targeted a lawyer involved in the $230 million tax refund fraud ten years ago who he had ignored since then. the man was put on the list exactly 2 months after he […]

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Central Banker Named Putin Heir in Doomsday Prediction

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2017) President Vladimir Putin will continue to rule behind the scenes after installing the current Central Bank chairwoman as his proxy, the Bloomberg news agency predicted in its annual worst-case scenario guide on Monday. Putin, who announced plans to seek a fourth term this month, is widely expected to win the 2018 presidential […]

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Debt and poverty: the thriving business of high-risk moneylenders in Russia; In Russia, loansharks and payday lenders masquerade as “microfinance” organisations to attract clients. But for many people, short-term loans are a way of life.

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Ewa Dabrowska – December 12, 2017) Ewa Dąbrowska is PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam. She focuses on the Russian financial system and microfinance in the post-Soviet space. “Avoid multiple loans. With several loans you are at greater risk of over-indebtedness,” warns the Warsaw-based Microfinance Center in a recent education campaign directed at users of microcredits in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “I’m ‘sick and tired’ of how U.S. views Russia, says CEO of Russia’s second-largest bank” –  CNBC/ Silvia Amaro

VTB Bank File Photo

“… The tense issue of Russian meddling in the election has dragged on. Putin warned last week that U.S. media companies could be restricted when operating in Russia after calls from American lawmakers to limit Russian outlets, namely RT and Sputnik, for their involvement in the 2016 presidential election. … Click here for: “I’m ‘sick and tired’ of how U.S. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s CBR gets tough on banks, demands they reveal owners’ identities” – bne Intellinews

Central Bank of Russia file photo

“The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) will demand that all of Russia’s banks fully disclose the identities of their owners from the start of 2018, Kommersant daily reported on September 11 citing the draft order prepared by the regulator. …”

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Business community expects economic reforms in Russia after presidential vote – Gref

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – The business community expects that Russia may begin extensive economic reforms after next year’s presidential elections and the preparatory stage is now underway, Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) CEO Herman Gref said in an interview on NTV television. “The expectations of business and, in general, the entire country is that such an extensive reform process, […]

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Central Bank analysts lower Russian GDP growth forecast in Q3-Q4 on weak industrial production data

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 6 (Interfax) – Central Bank analysts have lowered their forecast for Russian GDP growth in Q3 from 0.6% to 0.4%-0.5% on a quarterly basis excluding seasonality, the Central Bank’s Research and Forecasting Department said in its bulletin Talking Trends. The estimate for October-December 2017 was also lowered from 0.6% to 0.4%. “The main sources of the downward revision […]

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Lame-Duck Putinism

Putin at Desk

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org Brian Whitmore – September 1, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/lame-duck-putinism/28709290.html) An association of “patriotic entrepreneurs” is proposing that the Russian central bank issue a new 10,000 ruble banknote featuring Vladimir Putin’s likeness. Now you can read that a couple ways. The simplest, of course, is that it’s nothing more than […]

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Russia Offers Emergency Bank Aid to Prevent Otkritie Contagion

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Anna Baraulina – August 30, 2017) Russia’s central bank moved to contain a slow-motion banking crisis, offering support to other lenders after announcing the takeover of the largest institution yet. Bank Otkritie FC, Russia’s biggest private lender a month ago, is the first bank to be taken over by a fund created so that […]

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Putin’s New Favorite Official Plans Ministry of Future to Revamp Economy

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov – August 25, 2017) The odds were against Maxim Oreshkin. With only three years of government experience when President Vladimir Putin picked him to lead Russia’s Economy Ministry late in 2016, Oreshkin was considered a political lightweight. He got a ministry at risk of being taken over by the more […]

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A Month After Tighter Sanctions, Russia Risk Drops to a Four-Year Low

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff, Ksenia Galouchko – August 24, 2017) [Text with charts: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-24/month-after-sanctions-storm-russia-risk-drops-to-four-year-low] Less than a month after the U.S. toughened its main sanctions against Russia, a measure of the country’s political risk is back to its lowest level in four years. The cost of insuring Russian debt against default for five years using credit-default swaps dropped […]

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Big Data Convert Channels Big Brother to Take Russia’s Pulse

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 22, 2017) Raw numbers no longer cut it for Russia’s central bank in its effort to keep up with the economy. Instead, the man running its research and forecasting wants to know how Russians really feel by mining “big data,” gathered from social media and online stores. The Bank of Russia has […]

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Russia Braces for Permanent Sanctions From the U.S.; Moscow was hopeful Trump would loosen sanctions. Instead, he made them permanent.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Anna Andrianova – August 8, 2017) Andrey Kostin, a former Soviet diplomat in London who runs Russia’s second-largest bank, was jubilant when Donald Trump was elected last year. “We may soon see U.S. financial sanctions eased or even lifted,” he said at the time. Now, he’s changed his tune as his state-run VTB Group, […]

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Why Russia’s Market Is Rising After Sanctions Bill Approval

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 27, 2017) The U.S. House has approved a bill hardening sanctions against Russia, but European resistance to some of its toughest new measures means the impact on companies will be muted, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. As it stands now, the most negative aspect of the bill […]

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Government policy measures could reduce price volatility, inflation expectations – CBR chief

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. July 13 (Interfax) – Government policy regarding the development of infrastructure, logistics and competition on food markets, as well as tariff regulation could help to reduce the volatility of prices and lower inflation expectations, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at the International Financial Congress. “We need to fight not only with the consequences of shocks for inflation, […]

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Article by Vladimir Putin published in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt (re G20)

Map of Germany

(Kremlin.ru – July 6, 2017) Ahead of my trip to Germany to take part in the Summit of the Group of Twenty, I would like to share some thoughts about cooperation within the G20 framework with the readers of Handelsblatt, one of the most popular and reputable German newspapers. Over the years of its existence, the Group of Twenty has […]

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Bondholder’s Dream Beckons as ‘Japanification’ Sweeps Russia

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – June 28, 2017 – Anna Andrianova) From the bondholder’s perspective, Russia has a lot in common with Japan and Italy. That’s a good thing, mostly. An aging population more prone to saving, combined with a “strongly conservative” economy, offer the best mix for fixed-income investors, according to Renaissance Capital. While poor demographics will haunt Russia’s growth […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev:] Government report on its performance in 2016. (transcript continued)

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – April 19, 2017) State Duma of the Federal Assembly, Moscow Excerpts from the transcript: Dmitry Medvedev: Already in the fourth quarter of 2016, the economy showed a small increase of 0.3 percent. As of late 2016, we had a major slowdown in the decline of GDP compared to a fall of almost 3 percent in 2015. Such figures […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 18, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council Presidium meeting on the national consumer rights protection system. At a State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system. Meeting participants discussed the effectiveness of the national consumer rights protection system and the state consumer rights protection strategy to 2030. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, […]

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Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian corporate governance comes in from the ‘Caveman era'” – bne Intellinews/Jason Corcoran

“Russia’s new corporate governance code … in place for two years, is being increasingly adhered to, according to market participants. Other reforms undertaken by the Moscow Exchange – as well as an increase in domestic liquidity – is accelerating the trend for more companies to list in the Russian capital rather than in London. …” [featured image is file photo, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia pushes to rid itself of ‘Potemkin’ banks by 2019” – Reuters/Alexander Winning, Andrey Ostroukh

“Russia plans to extend a review of bank licenses for another two years, shutting down scores more banks after closing hundreds in the past four years, mostly for committing fraud or other crimes …. Vasily Pozdyshev, a deputy governor at Russia’s central bank, says … his team is still finding more propping up criminal activity and would need until 2019 …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The fate of Russian stocks hinges on politics and oil” – CNBC/Rebecca Ungarino

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“… The Moscow composite index is down nearly 8 percent year to date, underperforming the U.S. by nearly 15 percent as optimism around the possibility of the removal of trade sanctions against Russia fades. And crude oil, which weighs heavily on the Russian economy, has traded in a narrow range so far this year, offering no help to Russian stocks. […]

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

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s 2016 performance results and its current activities, including the prospects for developing mortgage lending, and new financial support mechanisms for the defence industry and agricultural sector businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, concerning the bank’s performance, we know […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian real disposable income up for first time since 2014 on pension payout” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Rosstat recorded the first rise in Russian real disposable income in January since October 2014. However, Rosstat went on to say that the bump was caused by a one-time payment to pensioners of RUB5000 (€81.69) in lieu of indexing their pensions at above the rate of inflation. …”

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Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – February 20, 2017) The half of Russia’s economy that hasn’t got wind of a recovery is already hunkering down for the crisis to come. Once indispensable for the country’s prospects, consumption flat-lined well below zero throughout last year even as the broader economy defied gloom. From the ruble to industrial output and wages, […]

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Interfax: Moody’s upgrades Russia rating outlook to stable

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Moody’s Investors Service has changed the outlook for Russia’s sovereign ratings to stable from negative. Russia’s issuer rating and the rating for Russian government bonds have been affirmed at Ba1, and the short-term rating has been affirmed at Not Prime, the rating agency said in a press release. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov welcomed Moody’s decision. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economy grows at $40 per barrel oil; Russia’s Central Bank last week said appetite was low for an increase in lending rates” – UPI/Daniel J. Graeber

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

The Russian economy will be on the positive side of growth even if the price of crude oil falls to $40 per barrel … [Central Bank Gov. Elvira Nabiullina] said. … The number of economic sectors expected to expand this year is not much greater than those in contraction, but losers are outnumbered. Much … depends on the price of […]

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Moscow Doesn’t Expect Trump to End Sanctions All at Once but ‘Cleverly’ Over Time, Markov Says

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 3, 2017) “Russophobia is so deeply rooted in European-American ideology,” Sergey Markov says, that Moscow doesn’t expect new US President Donald Trump to end all sanctions all at once but rather “in a clever fashion” that avoids problems for him and over a significant period of time. The words of Markov, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Index of fear: What are Russians most afraid of?”

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

Most Russians polled are afraid of war and international conflicts, but the number decreased to 14 points in December compared to 23 points in January 2016. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – January 30, 2017) Russians’ main fears remain the threat of war and inflation, while family troubles are the least worry. These findings are the results of a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rouble’s revival gives Russia an unexpected headache” – AFP

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

It was a step that seemed unimaginable a year ago: the Russian authorities stepping in to stop the country’s currency from getting too strong. … The finance ministry said Putin himself had decided that the surplus oil revenue would not be used for ‘additional spending’ but would go towards buying foreign currencies to bolster the country’s depleted reserve funds. … […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Survived Sanctions, And BlackRock Goes Overweight” – Forbes.com/Kenneth Rapoza

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russian oil and gas companies, along with its biggest banks, were sanctioned in the summer of 2014 following the March annexation of Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula in southeastern Ukraine. Tension between the West and Russia increased that year as a new, U.S. backed government led by Arsesniy Yatsenyuk took hold in Kiev, sending Moscow into panic mode. Russia […]

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De-dollarization of economy, banking system proceeding at full speed, to continue – Central Bank

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) – De-dollarization of the #Russian economy and #banking system is proceeding at full speed given the preferences of the public and companies and this process will continue, the head of the Central Bank of #Russia’s research and forecasting department Alexander #Morozov said at a roundtable in the State #Duma. “De-dollarization in the economy is proceeding at […]

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Russia Locks In on What’s Wrong With Ruble During Oil Frenzy

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – January 23, 2017) Untethering the #ruble helped #Russia ride out the biggest #oil downturn in a generation. But it’s left the world’s biggest energy exporter vulnerable to greater volatility in crude prices as #OPEC pushes output cuts. To address that, the Bank of Russia is preparing to wade back into the currency market […]

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Russian Central Bank Chief Nabiullina Named European Banker of the Year

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The British finance journal The Banker has named Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina as the European Central Bank Chairman of the year. The journal highlighted Nabiullina’s success in controlling Russia’s inflation rate. “The efforts of the Central Bank head has led to the fact that the rate of inflation by the […]

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Dollar Falls to Under 60 Rubles for the First Time Since July 2015

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 5, 2017) As most Russians enjoy a week-long holiday vacation, the country’s ailing currency is also having a happy new year. Today, during trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange, the U.S. Dollar’s value fell to less than 60 rubles for the first time since 2015, the RBC newspaper reported. At 2:19 p.m. Moscow time, […]

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‘Where Is This Country Going?’ Debt Crisis Tugs At Russian Federation’s Seams

Russia Regions Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – January 2, 2017) A surprisingly harsh war of words has broken out between the Russian central government and one of the country’s most prosperous regions, in a sign of tension as cash-strapped Moscow struggles to fill its budget deficit. The government of the Republic of Tatarstan sought to soften the blow by pulling […]

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Rosneft Privatization Deal Closed As Italian Financing Comes Through

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The tumultuous privatization saga of Russia’s largest oil company appears to be drawing to a close. Swiss-British commodities trading firm Glencore and the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund have closed a deal to purchase 19.5 percent of state-controlled Rosneft, according to a statement on Glencore’s website. The news was followed by an announcement […]

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Russian Ruble Ended 2016 As Second Best Emerging Market Performer

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 4, 2017) The Russian ruble continued to make gains against the euro and U.S. dollar in the first two days of trading in 2017 after ending last year as the second-best performer among emerging market currencies. The ruble ended trading in Moscow at 60.51 to the dollar and 62.76 to the euro on January 3. […]

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Russian Banking System Safe From Cyber-Threats — Central Bank Head

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2016) Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina said that Russia’s banking system is protected against cyber-threats in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel. “I should say that our banking system currently has an adequate level of protection against cyber threats,” she said. Nabiullina also said the Central Bank has created a […]

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Sanctions, economic pressure are increasingly used for political pressure – Putin

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) – Russia should take into account the increase in the use of methods of economic and sanction pressure when working on its long-term economic strategy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Economic restrictions, pressure, and sanctions are being increasingly used for political purposes, under the guise of political purposes, often in competition. We should take these tendencies […]

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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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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 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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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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