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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NEWSWATCH: “Mortgages vs. pensions and blasts from the past”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

BNE covers the impact of the Russian economic crisis on mortgage holders, and resulting unrest. Russia is in a painful place and freeing the ruble in November last year may be acting as a very effective shock absorber in the face of plummeting oil prices, but it also means that the brunt of the pain is being borne by the […]

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Putin’s New Internet Czar Wants Apple and Google to Pay More Taxes

iPad file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov and Stepan Kravchenko – February 8, 2016) When he’s not checking Gmail on his MacBook, Vladimir Putin’s new Internet czar can’t stop railing against American technology companies. Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., collectively worth more than Russia’s gross domestic product, have all entered German Klimenko’s crosshairs since he was named Putin’s first Internet […]

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Ukraine Bond Rout Worsens on Bets Political Tussle to Block Aid

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff – February 8, 2016) Ukrainian bonds slid, sending the yield on the nation’s shortest-dated restructured debt above 11 percent for the first time, as a political shakeup raised the likelihood for further delays to an international bailout that’s keeping the country afloat. The $1.15 billion of bonds maturing in September 2019 dropped 2.22 cents […]

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Ukrainian Bonds Plummet as Government Unity Efforts Stumble

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff, Daryna Krasnolutska – February 5, 2016) Ukrainian government bonds plunged as efforts faltered to shore up the ruling coalition after a key reformer quit and accused presidential party members of corruption. Notes issued in November after a $15 billion restructuring are poised for their worst week in the wake of comments from the parliament […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

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

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

Iran Map and Flag

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

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The Upside of a Down Ruble

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

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

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Russia’s Great Shift Downward; Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – January 28, 2016) For Russia’s battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 […]

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

Map of Sweden and Environs

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

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RBTH: Investors could benefit from Russia’s economic turmoil

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

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

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

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

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

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

Alexei Kudrin file photo

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

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U.S. Beats Russia in ‘Most Powerful’ Ranking

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2016) Russia is second only to its former Cold War foe the United States in terms of its power to influence the global agenda but lags behind many other countries in most categories, a new ranking presented at the Davos World Economic Forum said. Moscow scored a 9.4 in the “Power” category, which […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s current account improves in 2015, capital outflows fall two-thirds” – Reuters

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Reuters covers Russian financial positions. Russia’s current account surplus improved in 2015 while net capital outflows fell by almost two-thirds, underscoring the role of a weaker rouble in mitigating the impact of a slide in oil prices.  Preliminary balance of payments data published by the central bank on Monday showed the current account surplus increasing to $65.8 billion in 2015 […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Doing business in Russia: High risk, but also high reward. New Report “The Magnetic Push and Pull of the Russian Economy: What’s Next for Investors in Russia?” examines how the Russian economy has changed over the past year and what new opportunities have emerged there for foreign investors.”

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Hidden Sting Raises Costs for Ukraine in Russian Trade War

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – January 14, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-13/hidden-sting-drives-up-costs-for-ukraine-in-russian-trade-war] With the conflict in Ukraine already having ravaged bilateral trade, Russia canceling a free-trade pact with its former ally wasn’t seen as a big danger. But there was a twist. On top of annulling the accord, a response to Ukraine’s trade agreement with the European Union, Russia […]

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China’s Economic Turmoil Ruins Russia’s New Year

Asia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 14, 2016) New fears over China’s economy and sharp falls in the price of oil have worsened the outlook for Russia as it tries to emerge from recession. The price of crude, the linchpin of Russia’s economy, fell almost 20 percent in the first two weeks of January to just above […]

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Russian Ministry Predicts More Recession, Lower Incomes and Less Employment

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2016) New falls in the oil price mean that Russia’s economy will likely shrink again in 2016, as incomes continue to fall and unemployment rises, according to a draft outlook prepared by the Economic Development Ministry. Officials had hoped for an end to recession this year, but a near 20 percent decrease in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev at] The 7th Gaidar Forum [excerpts]

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 13, 2016) The theme of the 2016 Gaidar Forum is “Russia and the World: Looking to the Future.” The Gaidar Forum is an annual international academic and practical conference in the field of economic policy. It was first held in 2010 in memory of Yegor Gaidar, an outstanding academic and economist and the architect of Russian reforms […]

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Putin urges government to be ready for any economic scenario

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(Interfax – January 13, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the government to closely monitor changes in the economic situation and be ready for any turn. “We should be ready for any scenario,” he said at a meeting with Cabinet members. The president drew attention to how the situation changes on the markets. “I know that the government has […]

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Putin’s Power Failure: He’s had Time and Resources to Transform Russia but has Failed to Do So, Inozemtsev Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 12, 2016) Vladimir Putin has had the time and resources “to transform Russia if not into the next China then into a new Emirates by laying the foundations for economic growth over several decades,” Vladislav Inozemtsev says. But he didn’t do so and as a result, these years for Russia were […]

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Why Vladimir Putin won’t go to Davos

World Economic Forum Signage file photo

The Russian delegation at the Davos Forum will be headed by Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East. According to experts, this means that Russia will primarily focus on the presentation of Asian projects at the forum. Neither the president nor the prime minister will travel to Switzerland. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Russian Ruble Crashes to 77 Per Dollar Amid Oil Price Slump

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2016) The Russian ruble fell to 77 against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time since December 2014 as global prices for oil continue to slide, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. As of Tuesday morning, the Russian currency had slipped to 77.01 against the U.S. dollar and 83.80 against the […]

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Popular Decisions, Unpopular Outcomes

Vladimir Putin

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – January 11, 2016) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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Hard Times: Five Russians’ Hopes, Fears For 2016

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

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, January 3, 2016) 2015 has been a tough year for many Russians. The economy has been mired in recession. Dragged down by oil prices, the ruble has languished near record lows. The cost of a typical trip abroad has doubled in ruble terms, and U.S. and EU sanctions over Moscow’s interference in Ukraine have […]

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Eight Shades of Crisis – Russia’s Year of Economic Nightmares

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – December 26, 2015) [Charts here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/8-shades-of-crisis—russias-year-of-economic-nightmares/553703.html] Imagine Russia as a combustion engine. Oil and gas pumped from its vast territories wash through the economy as taxes, government spending and investment. Foreign currency from oil and gas sales is used to fund imported equipment and products on shop shelves. Cash from the energy […]

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RBTH: Ruble rollercoaster: How Russia was shortchanged in 2015

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

National currency lost half its value in the space of a year (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – December 23, 2015) The ruble has lost half its value in a span of just over a year. Since November 2014, foreign exchange value has been unregulated by the Russian Central Bank. Experts are divided in their […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] First Russian Internet Economy Forum

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – December 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin attended the First Russian Internet Economy Forum. The First Russian Internet Economy Forum is taking place in Moscow on December 21-22. The plenary session, attended by representatives of the national IT industry and relevant ministries and agencies, is dedicated to initiatives for the long-term development programme of the Russian Internet segment and branches […]

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After Default to Putin, What’s Next for Ukraine-Russia Bond Row

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff and Marton Eder – December 20, 2015) A two-year feud between Ukraine and Russia is on the verge of being played out in a London courtroom after the government in Kiev defaulted on $3 billion in bonds. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko followed through on months of threats on Friday by reneging on the debt […]

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How much are Western sanctions hurting Russia’s economy?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The difficult economic conditions have forced Russian businesses to reassess, which could be a good thing in the long run. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris – December 21, 2015) Sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis and absorption of Crimea have hurt the country’s economy, but not mortally wounded […]

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Russian analysts: IMF response to Ukraine debt hurts global finance system

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

The International Monetary Fund has allowed lending to countries that are in arrears on their debts to sovereign creditors. This decision will allow the fund to continue the program of assistance to Ukraine, even if the country does not return the $3 billion it owes to Russia. Russian experts claim the new policy undermines the foundations of the global financial […]

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Russia still interested in attracting foreign investors despite economic, political problems – PM

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) – Russia is still interested in attracting foreign investors despite the economic and political problems, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, opening a meeting of the governmental commission on the control of foreign investments in Russia. “Despite certain internal economic difficulties, foreign political problems, the exacerbation of the international situation, it is obvious that Russia is still […]

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Russian Finance Minister Siluanov expects oil price to go under $30 per bar

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Interfax – December 12, 2015) Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov anticipates that price for oil in some periods of time in 2016 could drop to $30 per barrel. “We had hardly passed the budget before we saw that the macroeconomic situation was changing. It’s changing not for the better. We based our budget on the presumption that the price would […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Sergei Alexashenko: “Russia’s Economy Slows Amid Investment Woes”

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Sergei Alexashenko assesses trends in the Russian economy and some of the factors impacting them. Russia’s economy is faring poorly …. Gross domestic product has swung back to a level last seen in the first of 2008 and the economy has essentially stagnated over the last seven years. * * * The situation in Russia is not […]

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Medvedev: Russia is capable of surviving recession without aid

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

In his annual interview to five of the country’s leading television channels on Dec. 9, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tackled topics ranging from the economy to defense, corruption, Crimea, and Ukraine’s $3 billion debt. RBTH presents a selection of highlights from the interview. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Igor Rozin – December 9, 2015) On economics “The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: In Conversation with Dmitry Medvedev: Interview with five television channels

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – December 9, 2015) Prime Minister answered questions from TV anchors Irada Zeinalova (Channel One), Sergei Brilyov (Rossiya), Kirill Pozdnyakov (NTV), Yelizaveta Osetinskaya (RBC TV) and Mikhail Fishman (TV Rain). Sergei Brilyov: Good afternoon. On behalf of the media holding that hosts this broadcast it is my pleasure to welcome you on Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24 TV stations, as […]

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