Interfax: Foreign investors believe in Russia’s prospects despite sanctions – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – May 22, 2016) Foreign investors believe in the prospects of Russian economy and are setting up their productions here, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in the Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyev show on Rossiya 1 (VGTRK) television on May 22. “If you take a look at how many new plants are opening now [in the […]

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Is neoliberalism applicable to Russia? A response to Ilya Matveev; Attempts to call the Putin regime “neoliberal” get one fundamental thing wrong: capitalism doesn’t exist in Russia.

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – May 20, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. oDR recently published an article by Ilya Matveev, “Russia, Inc”, which positioned neoliberalism as an organic part of the Putin regime. The intense discussion that followed brings us back to two central […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Excerpts: Medvedev at] The 6th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – May 18, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev attended a plenary session titled Trust in Law – Mechanism for Global Crisis Resolution. The St Petersburg International Legal Forum was launched in 2011 and is a major platform for dialogue between politicians, lawyers, economists and scientists who represent various economic and legal systems. The forum seeks to promote ways to modernise the […]

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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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Panama Papers: Are Russian entrepreneurs actually moving back onshore?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The latest information published from the Panama Papers shows that some Russian billionaires began closing their offshore companies after the beginning of the governmental de-offshorization campaign in 2015. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – rbth.ru – May 16, 2016) According to the business newspaper RBK Daily, the expanded database of the so-called Panama Papers, published in May […]

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Hedge Funds Reap Big Rewards From Roller-Coaster Russian Markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – May 15, 2016) Russian assets, which are among the most volatile in the world, are bringing hedge fund managers the best returns in emerging markets. Funds with a geographical focus on the country have gained an average 29 percent since the start of 2015, more than any others geared toward major developing nations, […]

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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 11, 2016) Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the European Union was so controversial that it caused the former Soviet republic’s break with Russia, which had opposed the closer ties with Europe. Several months in, it looks like the deal is benefiting the EU more than it is helping Ukraine. That doesn’t mean […]

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Russia Ratifies International Agreement on Financial Information Exchange

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 12, 2016) Russia has signed an international agreement on the exchange of financial information, state news agency TASS reported Thursday. The head of Russia’s Federal Taxation Service (FNS) Mikhail Mishustin said that Russia will join the global system of data exchange between tax authorities in different countries in 2018. “This will allow us to […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/DAVID FRANCIS, LARA JAKESA: “‘Sanctions Are a Failue…Let’s Admit That.’ With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth?”

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags » Read more

Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russia Grants Ukraine’s Request to Delay Eurobond Case Defense”

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Russia has agreed to allow Ukraine extra time to file its defence with a British court … Russia filed a lawsuit … demanding repayment of the $3 billion Eurobond …. Ukraine insists Russia must accept restructuring terms agreed with other foreign creditors. … Ukraine had until March 19 to file its defence although it was granted an extension until April […]

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Putin Swears Off Stimulus as Policy Mix Moves Toward ‘Orthodoxy’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 17, 2016) It was by no means the showstopper of President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in with Russians, complete as it was with digs at the U.S. and justice dispensed on live television. Two days after Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina urged reforms and warned against the “big illusion” of using inflation […]

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Were the Panama Papers Planted? Who Cares.

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) Last week, a respected Russia scholar in the U.S. speculated that the Kremlin might be behind the so-called Panama Papers, the big dump of data about offshore accounts that has implicated several countries’ officials in shady dealings. And on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia blamed the U.S. for the […]

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What I Learned On Russian Television

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – April 15, 2016) I learned a lot more about the poor quality of Russian dairy products yesterday than I would care to know. I also learned that wages aren’t being paid, people can’t afford to buy medicine or pay utilities bills, that schools, kindergartens, and hospitals are being closed, that […]

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Putin doesn’t expect Western sanctions to be lifted soon, says Russia to keep countersanctions in place

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin does not expect the Western sanctions to be lifted from Russia in the near future. “I don’t think our partners will decide to lift the restrictions and limitations from our country in the near future,” Putin said during a Q&A session on Thursday. “Even though the Minsk Agreements on southeastern Ukraine […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Most Important Bank Needs a Bailout. VEB faces task of paying off about $20 billion in foreign-currency debt.” – Wall Street Journal

Cash, Calculator, Pen

When the Russian government needed to build up infrastructure in … Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, it turned to Russia’s most important lender: Vnesheconombank, the country’s state-owned development bank. … eventually holding the equivalent of at least $2.9 billion in overdue loans. … the bill is coming due. VEB for years kept its books in balance by […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Investors Starting to Show Interest in Russia Again: Credit Suisse.” – Reuters

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse’s $60 million Russian Equity Fund said. There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock markets in the past few months as the oil price and the rouble have picked up is encouraging interest […]

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Why Hedge Funds Are Loading Up on Rubles

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – April 10, 2016) Managers of some of the best-performing funds from Berlin to New York are buying Russian ruble assets as the currency has rebounded 23 percent from a record low. Stuart Sclater-Booth, who helps oversee more than $40 billion at Stone Harbor Investment Partners, turned overweight on the ruble in mid-February and […]

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On My Mind

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 11, 2016) In many ways, corruption is the new communism. The Soviet Union sought to spread communism and establish a bloc of nations loyal to Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s Russia seeks to spread its corrupt business model to establish a bloc of nations dependent upon Moscow. The Soviet Union tried to co-opt Westerners […]

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Panama Papers scandal: What was the reaction in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Even though most Russian newspapers wrote about the discovery of the Panama offshore bank accounts belonging to politicians and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin, public reaction to the scandal was rather muted. Russians exchanged jokes and comments about the information policy of the main Russian TV channels, which, unlike the newspapers, did not report on the scandalous leak. (Russia Beyond […]

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Russian Inflation Slows More Than Forecast as Ruble Shock Fades

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 5, 2016) Russian inflation decelerated to the slowest pace in almost two years as withering consumer demand continues to weigh on prices and stronger oil propels a rally in the ruble. Consumer-price growth eased to 7.3 percent from a year earlier in March, compared with 8.1 percent in February, the Federal Statistics […]

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Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to Investigate Panama Papers

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 5, 2016) The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office will investigate data contained in the Panama Papers about Russians involved in offshore companies, press secretary Alexandr Kurennoi said Tuesday, the Interfax news agency reported. “The main goal of the inquiry will be to find out if Russian nationals mentioned in the documents acted according to the […]

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Putin’s a Pauper, His Friends Are Rich

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 4, 2016) Recent reports by two consortia of investigative journalists purport to have exposed the dealings and offshore accounts of some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates. They don’t name him as a beneficiary of any account, suggesting that Putin is as poor as a church mouse — or would be […]

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Panama Papers scandal: Who is Russia’s Sergei Roldugin?

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

One of the sections of the international journalistic investigation into corruption offshore networks used by the world’s rich and powerful is devoted specifically to Russia. It focuses on renowned cellist Sergei Roldugin, who is also godfather to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – April 5, 2016) On Sunday […]

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‘Nothing To See Here’: Russia Shrugs At Latest Allegations Against Putin

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson -April 1, 2016) Earlier this week, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that Western media outlets planned an “information dump” aimed “personally” at President Vladimir Putin with the intention of “disrupting the situation in the country.” A couple days later, on March 31, the Reuters news agency published a report on alleged connections […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin associates had $2 billion in offshore accounts, report says” – Washington Post

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

An international collection of journalists published a report Sunday on the financial activities of a dozen current and former world leaders that said associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin have moved as much as $2 billion through offshore accounts. …  based on a data leak of 11.5 million records for 214,488 entities connected to people in more than 200 countries or territories. […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “The Latest: Russian media keep mum on offshore scandal”

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Russian media are keeping mum about the $2 billion found in offshore accounts linked to close friends of President Vladimir Putin. … an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets … details how politicians use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets. Putin’s close friends including a cellist from St. Petersburg were shown to be […]

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NEWSWATCH Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP): “UKRAINE: THE PRESIDENT’S OFFSHORE TAX PLAN”

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

… actions by his financial advisers and Poroshenko himself … worth an estimated US$ 858 million, make it appear that the candy magnate was more concerned about his own welfare than his country’s – going so far as to arguably violate the law twice, misrepresent information and deprive his country of badly needed tax dollars during a time of war. […]

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Russia’s top investigator says Khodorkovsky acquired Yukos shares illegally

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – March 25, 2016) Russia’s Investigations Committee is close to proving that the shareholders of dissolved oil company Yukos acquired their shares unlawfully, spokesman Vladimir Markin has said. This would give Russia grounds to not pay the Yukos shareholders a 50bn dollars in damages pursuant to a 2014 Hague ruling. “This is a case that can be characterised by […]

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Ukraine’s Economy Plummeted By Nearly 10 Percent In 2015

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 22, 2016) Ukraine’s battered economy shrank by 9.9 percent in 2015 due to implosions in the financial sector and consumer demand, the state statistics service reported on March 21. The stunning fall last year followed a drop of nearly 7 percent in 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea and Ukraine’s war with Russia-backed separatists broke […]

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Russia, Inc.: From “structural reforms” of the 2000s to austerity policies today, neoliberalism has been and remains an organic part of the Putin regime

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Ilya Matveev – March 16, 2016) Ilya Matveev is a researcher and lecturer based in St Petersburg, Russia. He is a founding editor of the online publication Openleft.ru and a member of the research group Public Sociology Laboratory. In December 2014, Vladimir Putin gave his usual annual speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly. This speech turned out to be […]

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Russia ups investment in U.S. Treasuries $4.8 billion in January

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

MOSCOW. March 16 (Interfax) – Russia increased investment in US Treasuries for the third successive month in January, this time by approximately $4.8 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Russian investment in UST grew $6.1 billion last year as a whole. Russia, which held $96.9 billion in UST at the end […]

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Putin’s $50 Billion Oil Cache Gives Russia Luxury to Ignore ECB

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 13, 2016) Russian central bankers have fewer reasons to offer relief to their recession-wracked economy than you might think. Their decision whether to resume an interest rate-cutting cycle this week is almost beside the point as the government of Vladimir Putin lubricates the economy in the background with oil wealth amassed in […]

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Where does the Russian Orthodox Church get its money from?

Patriarch Kirill file photo

The Russian Orthodox Church is not only a religious organization, but also a large corporation that does business. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – March 9, 2016) In 2014, the Russian Orthodox Church received $75.7 million of revenues from ceremonies, sales of religious literature and donations, according to the Federal Tax Service. All of this […]

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The Russia-Ukraine Bond Dispute: Another Frozen Conflict?

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

Subject: The Russia-Ukraine Bond Dispute: Another Frozen Conflict? Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2016 From: Peter Clateman <pclateman@yahoo.com> Transnational Dispute Management transnational-dispute-management.com This article will be published in a future issue of TDM (2016). Check website for final publication date for correct reference. This article may not be the final version and should be consideredas a draft article. About TDM TDM […]

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The Russia-Ukraine Bond Dispute: Another Frozen Conflict?

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Subject: The Russia-Ukraine Bond Dispute: Another Frozen Conflict? Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2016 From: Peter Clateman <pclateman@yahoo.com> Transnational Dispute Management transnational-dispute-management.com This article will be published in a future issue of TDM (2016). Check website for final publication date for correct reference. This article may not be the final version and should be consideredas a draft article. About TDM TDM […]

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Fitch Says Russia Forces Choice Between Sanctions and Ratings

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Baraulina, Anna Andrianova – February 29, 2016) Fitch Ratings Ltd. said it will probably stop issuing local ratings on Russian companies under new rules that make it impossible to abide by European Union and U.S. sanctions against Moscow. The rules create a dilemma for international firms because they run counter to the penalties imposed by […]

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Russia’s Economy Is Tanking, So Why Is Putin Smiling?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova – February 29, 2016) With Russia mired in the longest recession in two decades, there hasn’t been a lot of good economic news lately. But there’s one indicator that’s looking up, and it’s the one that matters most to Vladimir Putin: His hard-currency reserves. The central bank held $379 billion in foreign […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Weak Oil Prices Fuel Ukrainian Hopes of a More Conciliatory Russia” – Wall Street Journal

Oil Well file photo

The Wall Street Journal covers Russian economic vulnerability amidst falling oil prices and its possible impact on efforts to resolve the Russo-Ukrainian conflict . Ukraine’s political elite is hoping that plummeting oil prices will restrain neighboring Russia’s interventionist ambitions—and give Western sanctions on Russia a bit more bite. … diplomatic overtures have raised hopes in Kiev that Moscow—which annexed Crimea […]

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