Kudrin sees sanctions as primarily negative for Russian economy

Alexei Kudrin file photo

KRASNOYARSK. April 21 (Interfax) – Sanctions are having a negative impact on the Russian economy, the chairman of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. “We are sooner losing position on the global market. The problem is not only related to the drop in oil prices and sanctions. Sanctions are in general very sensitive and […]

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In Annual Report, Medvedev Says Russian Economy Avoided Catastrophe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 19, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has promised not to raise taxes in 2017 and vowed to consider indexing retirement payments for working pensioners, delivering a moderately upbeat annual report on the troubled economy. Addressing the lower house of parliament on April 19, Medvedev said the Russian economy had avoided “catastrophe” despite low world […]

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Government forecast for annual GDP growth of 1.5% in 2018-2020 does not meet president’s goal – Belousov

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MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) – The government’s forecast for Russian GDP growth in 2018-2020 of 1.5% a year under the baseline scenario does not meet the goal set by the president of achieving growth higher than the global average in 2019-2020, presidential aide Alexander Belousov told journalists. The government forecast for 2% GDP growth in 2017 is “the maximum possible […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Mr Medvedev briefed Vladimir Putin on the key points of the report on the Government’s work in 2016, which will be presented to the State Duma on April 19. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, on April 19 you will present to the State Duma the Government’s report on its work last year. What will you be presenting? What […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russia’s economy needs a recipe for growth; The country’s economy has left the recession, but growth rates are still low. Will Russia be able to return to the high pre-crisis indicators?”

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – SERGEI ALEXASHENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 13, 2017) The author is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution (Washington). In 1993-1998 he was deputy finance minister and deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. The Russian economy has hauled itself out of the recession – Rosstat, Russia’s statistics agency, the Economy Ministry, […]

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Fixing Russia’s Growth for Economists Takes One Ruble at a Time

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Andre Tartar – April 9, 2017) The ruble’s “serious weakening,” as forecast by Russia’s Economy Ministry, may be seriously good for growth. While the authorities in Russia have wavered this year over the benefits and disadvantages to the economy of a strong exchange rate, analysts are coming down on the side of depreciation. A […]

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Russian Economy Crawled to Growth With Recession in Rearview

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 31, 2017) Russia’s economy returned to growth at the end of 2016, turning the page on seven consecutive quarters of contraction that laid waste to the middle class after oil prices crashed. Gross domestic product gained 0.3 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter after a decline of 0.4 percent […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN’S ECONOMY IS SO BAD, MANY RUSSIANS CAN’T AFFORD NEW SHOES” – Newsweek

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“To see the state of Vladimir Putin’s economy, look down at Russians’ feet. The weakening ruble is making Russians more cautious about their purchases, and annual shoe sales across the country have dropped in recent months as Russians wait for their footwear to completely wear out before buying new ones ….”

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This Recovery Isn’t for Everyone as Inequality Reshapes Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 22, 2017) A snapshot of Russia’s consumer welfare painted a picture of a country increasingly cleaved by inequality. A surprise deterioration of retail sales in February, alongside an unexpected plunge in real disposable incomes, is adding to evidence of what Morgan Stanley is calling an “uneven consumer recovery” driven by rising disparity […]

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Russians Happier Than They Look, UN Study Shows

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2017) Don’t be misled by those grumpy faces on the Moscow metro: Russia is the 49th happiest place on Earth and it is becoming happier, a new study has found. The United Nation’s yearly World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” in 155 countries along criteria such as GDP per capita and life expectancy, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of Congress of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin addressed a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The congress is being held as part of the X Russian Business Week (RBW) on March 13-17, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The RBW participants coordinate proposals on key areas of interaction between the […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Vice-premier: Russia has a unique phenomenon – workers are officially poor”

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Olga Golodets speaks out about worrying trend in the country: despite having regular jobs, millions of people are stuck below the poverty line due to poor wages. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 16, 2017) Russian Vice-Premier Olga Golodets has highlighted the fact that alarmingly low wages in the country are keeping people with regular jobs below the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian inflation falls below 5% for the first time since Soviet days” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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“Russia’s consumer price inflation … dropped below 5% for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a quarter of a century ago. Inflation was 4.6% y/y in February, according to Rosstat, down from 5% in January and in line with the Bloomberg consensus for the month. …”

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Russia Is Running on More Than Just the Black Stuff; The world’s largest energy producer is out of its longest recession in two decades

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova- March 7, 2017) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-07/russia-is-running-on-more-than-just-the-black-stuff] Russia has exited recession, with a little help from the boys in uniform, a major statistical revision – and the global oil price. And not just any recession, but its longest in two decades. So what happened? 1. Is the economy really out of the woods? Actually, the […]

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Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come

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(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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – February 15, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, who briefed the President on the economic situation in Russia in 2016, and the prospects for 2017. Ways to continue reducing inflation this year were also under discussion. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Oreshkin, do you have the final figures or the […]

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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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Russian Government Named Biggest Threat to Competitive Economy

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 8, 2017) Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has named the state the biggest threat to healthy competition in the Russian economy. The agency is now asking President Vladimir Putin to sign a presidential decree reducing the government’s role in key economic sectors over the next two years, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. The decree […]

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Russians Are Getting Used to Being Broke

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Olga Kuvshinova – February 6, 2017) Russia’s recovery from the current recession continues to slow, according to the Economic Development Ministry. The reason: demand has plummeted. If that is the case, it means the Russian economy’s decline is in full swing despite official statements that the recession has ended. The decline in retail turnover – […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russians can no longer afford to pinch pennies on food”

Cash, Calculator, Pen

If incomes continue to drop, however, Russians won’t be able to cut their food budgets and still adequately feed themselves. Any further cuts could mean risking malnutrition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – Feb. 6, 2017) Consumers are not willing to further cut food spending even if their financial situation continues to deteriorate. Grocery spending […]

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Russia Nears End of Recession as GDP Shrinks Less Than Forecast

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – February 1, 2017) Russia edged closer to exiting its longest recession in almost two decades as mining, manufacturing and agriculture added to stabilizing oil prices to steady the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter. Gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent last year after an upwardly revised decline of 2.8 percent in 2015, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Men, Alexander Novak, Nikolai Nikiforov, Vitaly Mutko at] Meeting with Government members

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

(kremlin.ru – February 1, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss possibilities for further developing treasury monitoring of budget spending, the situation with co-funded housing development, and a number of other current issues. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we will discuss the results of work and further development for treasury monitoring of budget spending. […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russians weather the crisis by sharing beds, rides and jobs”

Moscow Roads

The number of Russians who during the crisis found additional work on the YouDo online exchange grew by almost six times in the 2015-2016 period. BlaBlaCar and AirBnB also told RBTH that there was an increase in demand for its services in Russia in 2016. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA KALININA, RBTH – January 30, 2017) The […]

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

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“… 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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NEWSWATCH: “Russian retail slump clouds forecasts for economic recovery” – Reuters

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

Russian retail sales fell more than expected in December, official data showed on Wednesday, challenging the government’s optimistic predictions for an imminent economic recovery. Retail sales are the largest contributor to Russian gross domestic product and have suffered steep falls since the economy entered a deep slump in 2014, when oil prices collapsed and the West imposed sanctions over the […]

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Surviving on the streets: Stories from those that care for the homeless

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

According to various estimates, between a 1.5 million and 3 million people in Russia are homeless. An RBTH correspondent accompanied volunteers from the Moscow adaptation center for the homeless as they went on their nightly rounds and learned how the homeless survive in the most densely populated city in the country. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEVGENY LEVKOVICH, […]

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

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(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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RUSSIALINK: “Deputy Prime Minister: Too Early to ‘Discharge’ Russia’s Economy ‘From Hospital'” – Sputnik News

Igor Shuvalov file photo

“… ‘We could say that we have been discharged from the hospital, when we have a sustainable growth and increase in our citizens income. At the moment we can not see it,’ Shuvalov told the Rossiya-24 broadcaster …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Listen, liberal. Alexei Kudrin wants to liberalise Russia’s economy to save it. But with Donald Trump’s election, many Russians think Putin’s model is winning.” – The Economist

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“… Kudrin’s verdict was grim. Russia, he said, is at a low pace of economic growth even compared with the period of stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s that led to the Soviet collapse. The reasons go well beyond low #oil prices and Western sanctions: The main problems lie within Russia and they are structural and institutional.’ Russia lags far […]

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Poll finds 45% of Russians Dissatisfied With The Country’s Situation

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 19, 2017) A recent poll by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) found that 45 percent of Russians are dissatisfied with the general situation in the country, the RBC newspaper reports. Nearly half the population expressed dissatisfaction with the authorities in the realm of healthcare, the economy and the social safety net. The results of […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: World Bank urges Russia to invest in education and health care

World Bank Building

A new World Bank report shifts from the usual criticism of Russian dependence on raw materials toward the nation’s need to invest more in the population in order for them to be best prepared for the challenges of modernity. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA KALININA, RBTH – January 18, 2017) In a break from past reports, the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “China Goes Food Shopping-to Russia; ‘Everything that can be consumed by a human being in China is something they’re interested in,’ Russian official says” – Wall Street Journal/AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN/Liyan Qi

Asia Map

China bought more than $1 billion in food products from Russia last year, replacing Turkey as the top importer of Russian foodstuffs. … central to Russia’s economic and political pivot toward Asia, as the Russian economy continues to suffer under Western sanctions and the low price of oil, and U.S.-Russian relations deteriorate …. Russia and China … describe current relations […]

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TRANSCRIPT EXCERPTS: [Medvedev at] The 8th Gaidar Forum

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 12, 2017) The Gaidar Forum is an ongoing project for discussing topical problems of our time. The forum was first held in 2010 and is dedicated to the memory of Yegor Gaidar, researcher, economist and ideologist of Russian reforms of the early 1990s. The forum’s discussions center around topics concerning Russia’s status and strategic role in the […]

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World Bank Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth In Russia For 2017

World Bank Building

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 11, 2017) The World Bank is predicting 1.5 percent growth in Russia’s gross domestic product in 2017 and sees a gain of 1.7 percent in 2018 and 1.8 percent the following year, helped by increases in commodity prices. Russia’s projected GDP growth follows an estimated 0.6 percent contraction in 2016 and a 3.7 percent contraction […]

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Kremlin Propaganda Effort Ever Less Effective on Russians, Surveys Show

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 8, 2016) The messages Kremlin propaganda is disseminating and the actual beliefs of Russians are increasingly diverging, except on the “sacred” issue of approval for Vladimir Putin, surveys show, an indication that his regime’s media efforts are ever less successful in shaping public attitudes, according to Igor Yakovenko. The Russian commentator […]

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

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(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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Russian Ruble Ended 2016 As Second Best Emerging Market Performer

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(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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With Reforms Impossible, Some Russians Predict Revolution, Baklanov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 2, 2016) Given that Vladimir #Putin has signaled that any serious reforms in the near term are unlikely or even impossible, ever more #Russians are predicting revolution, especially as that country enters the centenary of the two revolutions of 1917, Aleksandr Baklanov says. That doesn’t mean that a revolution will happen […]

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Putin’s War At Home

Russia Regions Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 28, 2016) As Vladimir Putin basks in his victories abroad, problems are piling up at home. Rustam Minnikhanov, the leader of oil-rich Tatarstan, has denounced a recent Kremlin decision to take more of his republic’s tax revenues, calling it “stupidity” and comparing it to Josef Stalin’s liquidation of the kulaks. Minnikhanov’s broadside […]

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Russian Families Spend 80% of Income on Essentials

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(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – December 21, 2016) Families in Russia are spending between 70-80 percent of their household income on essentials, according to a report cited by the RBC newspaper. According to a Center for Economic and Political Reform report, the average Russian family consisting of two working parents and one child spends between 53-143 percent of their income […]

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In Russia, the Refrigerator is Finally Defeating the TV but Not Having the Political Impact Many Expected

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 12, 2016) For months, Moscow commentators have suggested that Russians are caught between what the Kremlin shows them on television and what they see in their increasingly empty refrigerators and predicted that eventually the refrigerator would defeat the TV and that this would have immediate political consequences. The findings of two […]

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Putin Caps a Turnaround Year as Rosneft Deal Beats Sanctions

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – December 8, 2016) As the U.S. and #Europe try to isolate #Russia with #sanctions, Vladimir #Putin just managed to oversee one of the biggest investments in the global #energy industry this year. The surprise $11 billion sale of shares in oil giant #Rosneft PJSC to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Glencore […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

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

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