Interfax: Russia could have budget surplus of 1.2% of GDP, NWF could grow 3.5 trillion rubles in 2018 – Econ Ministry

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MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) – Russia could have a budget surplus of 1.2% of GDP in 2018 if current oil prices persist, the Russian Economic Development Ministry said in its latest monthly monitoring report. The National Welfare Fund (NWF) could in that case grow by 3.5 trillion rubles or around $60 billion at the current rate, it said. The NWF […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Low Energy Superpower: Russia’s Dim Growth Prospects” – Bear Market Blog/Joseph Webster

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“Few Russians are nostalgic for the nightmarish 1990s, a time when GDP fell by approximately 40%, inflation skyrocketed, and life expectancies tumbled. While history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes: Russia won’t relive the nightmarish 1990s, but the pattern of declining living standards in contemporary Russia increasingly resembles the last decade of the 20th century. Russia will likely suffer a […]

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Interfax: Sovereign debt sanctions may cause brief volatility, no real effect on economy, financial stability – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ROSTOV-ON-DON. Feb 1 (Interfax) – U.S. sanctions targeting Russian sovereign debt, if introduced, might lead to short-term volatility on the sovereign debt market, but would not have a substantial effect on the economy or financial stability, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said. “We saw this risk previously, we see it now. We evaluated it, evaluated the effect of two possible […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

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“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia faces 6 more years of stagnation under Putin” – CNN/ Alanna Petroff

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“Russian President Vladimir Putin looks set to win re-election in March, extending his stay in the Kremlin to 2024. For Russia’s economy, that likely means six more years of anemic growth. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy suddenly shrinks in November” – Reuters

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“Russia’s economy unexpectedly contracted in November, hit by a drop in industrial production, the economy ministry said …. Gross domestic product shrank 0.3 percent year on year in November, the economy ministry said, contrasting with analysts’ consensus call for a 1.5 percent growth. Russia’s oil-dependent economy was on the mend in 2017 after two years of recession, triggered by a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Break From a Recession Was Fleeting” – Bloomberg/ Anna Andrianova

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“After suffering its longest economic contraction this century, Russia may just have had the shortest recovery. JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the world’s biggest energy exporter probably capped last year with two consecutive quarters of contraction — or a technical recession — a surprise cooldown that ranged from struggling consumer spending to a flop in industrial output. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Outlook 2018” – Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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“Russia needs a new economic model and 2018 is the year that one will be chosen – or not. First the country needs to get through a presidential election in March (that will almost certainly be won by president Vladimir Putin). After that the Kremlin will turn to making reforms, but the effects of any reforms that do happen are […]

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The Worse Russians Live, The Happier They Are, VTsIOM Poll Suggests

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(Paul Goble – Staunton, December 23, 2017) According to a poll conducted by the VTsIOM agency, Russians now have begun to feel even happier than they did before the onset of the crisis as measured by the different between those who tell sociologists that they are happy and those who say they are not. Valery Fedorov, the head of VTsIOM, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putinomics Loses Its Power in Russia” – Bloomberg/ Anna Andrianova, Evgenia Pismennaya

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“Russia’s traditionally boom-and-bust economy risks something it hasn’t yet endured during President Vladimir Putin’s rule — stagnation. The economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter is stalling without enough investment after draining Putin’s old growth model, based on channeling income from sales of oil and gas into domestic demand and riding a consumption boom that followed. After almost two decades […]

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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.

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(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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Recession Recoveries In Russia, Brazil Help Lift World Growth To Six-Year High

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 12, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/recession-recoveries-russia-brazil-help-lift-world-growth-six-year-high-3-percent-2011/28911154.html) World economic growth rose this year to 3 percent, the strongest rate since 2011, aided by recoveries from recession in Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and NIgeria, the United Nations has estimated. In its annual report on global growth on December 11, the UN […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian PM says poverty is ‘glaring problem’ in country” – AFP

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

“… Medvedev … said poverty remained a ‘glaring problem’ in [Russia], where presidential elections are due to be held next year. ‘Poverty is, of course, one of the glaring problems of our modern economy,’ Medvedev said … ‘When the economy is weak, it’s impossible for there not to be any poor people’, Medvedev said …. A World Bank report … said that […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “In Conversation with Dmitry Medvedev: Interview with five television channels” – GovernmentRu

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – November 30, 2017) The Prime Minister answered questions from TV anchors Valery Fadeyev (Channel One), Sergei Brilyov (Rossiya), Irada Zeinalova (NTV), Igor Poletaev (RBC) and Mikhail Fishman (TV Rain). Excerpts from the transcript: Results of the Government’s performance in the outgoing year and the state of the economy Dmitry Medvedev: Today we can say that the economy has […]

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Russia’s Optimistic GDP Projections Fall Shy of Targets; The government’s GDP target was undermined by disappointing third-quarter GDP numbers and industrial output stumbling in the fall

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 29, 2017) [Text with chart themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-optimistic-gdp-projection-falls-short-of-targets-59734] Russia’s GDP is expected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2017 and 2018 in the latest outlook published by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Nov. 28. The OECD’s optimistic forecast is almost in line with 2-2.1 percent official government’s target, which was recently undermined […]

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The Good Russians: Poorest Give to Others Even When They Don’t Have Enough to Eat

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 23, 2017) One of the many things those Russian officials and their allies who condemn any critic of the Russian government as a Russophobe don’t understand is that the objects of such attacks make a distinction they do not – between the horrific government and the many good Russians who suffer […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GDP growth in Russia disappointingly slows” – bne Intellinews

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“Russia’s GDP growth disappointed on the down side as the July-September numbers came in well below the government expectation at 1.2%, making the annual GDP growth of 1.8%. The government had been expecting 2.2%. * * * … [and] Russia’s GDP growth has been achieved against the backdrop of rather shaky industrial output. …” Click here for: “GDP growth in Russia […]

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Interfax: Russia’s GDP growth to exceed 2% in 2017 – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MANILA. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian government is expecting 2017’s GDP growth to exceed 2%, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a session of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 (ABIS 2017). “We saw positive changes both last and this year, and our recovery growth has been rather good. We are expecting the Russian GDP to increase […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Uses Its Oil Giant, Rosneft, as a Foreign Policy Tool” – New York Times/ Clifford Krauss

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“Russia is increasingly wielding oil as a geopolitical tool, spreading … influence … and challenging the interests of the United States. … Moscow risks running into trouble … lend[ing] money and mak[ing] deals in turbulent economies and shaky political climates. The strategy faces a crucial test this week in Venezuela, a Russian ally that must come up with a billion dollars to avert […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Putin Want? To Maintain His Power No Matter What; A big win for Putin in the March election would be a victory for the Russian autocratic state.” – NBC/ William Pomeranz

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“In Russia … [elections] are acts of confirmation: The only real suspense … is whether … Putin will receive 70 percent or 80 percent …. Putin … surely understands that reform is the moment of greatest vulnerability for a Russian leader (just ask … Gorbachev). … Putin’s intent is always to maintain control, as recent prosecutions attest. * * * … At the top of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economic recovery not enough for higher rating: Moody’s” – Reuters/ Andrey Ostroukh

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“Economic recovery in Russia is not strong enough to convince Moody’s rating agency to upgrade its sovereign credit rating as the country still lacks sufficient structural reform …. Moody’s downgraded Russia’s rating to below investment grade in early 2015 as Russia’s economy slipped into recession amid a rapid drop in oil prices and Western sanctions … over [Russia’s] role in the Ukrainian […]

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Republic: The Diagnosis after Three Years of Crisis, or Why the Russian Economy Survived

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(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Oct. 20, 2017 [from “Russian media roundup, October 13-20, 2017”]) At the turn of 2014-2015, it was uncertain as to whether the Russian economy would emerge standing. Yakov Mirkin, the head of International Capital Markets Department Institute of World Economy and International Relations, lists seven reasons to explain what saved the Russian economy […]

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Interfax: Oreshkin sees positive foreign investor sentiment regarding Russian economy recovery

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(Interfax – GORKY, Oct. 16) Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said he saw positive sentiment among foreign investors regarding a recovery in the Russian economy. “Today’s meeting was definitely characterized by overall positive sentiment regarding the fact that the Russian economy has begun to recover and that economic growth has taken off. Companies feel this in their financials,” Oreshkin […]

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NEWSLINK: “This is as good as it gets” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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“This is as good as it gets. That was the conclusion of Fitch Ratings’ Global Economic Outlook for September 2017. The global economy is in a bit of a sweet spot as the bounce-back growth is strong and the last of the 2008 crash effects are fading away. Commodities prices are high and growth in both developed and emerging markets […]

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Painting The Kremlin Facade

Kremlin and River

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-putin-65-brezhnev/28782055.html) So Vladimir Putin turned 65 this past weekend, which, incidentally, is longer than 43 percent of Russian men can expect to live according to a new World Bank report. Last month, he surpassed Leonid Brezhnev and became Russia’s longest ruling leader since […]

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Putin Budget Points to Another Lost Decade for Russia, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4m 2017) The three-year budget the Russian government has proposed suggests that Russia will continue to stagnate, poverty will continue to grow, and the country will fall further and further behind the developed world and even its nearest neighbors, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. In a lead article today, […]

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Interfax: Russian authorities know how to address gap between rich, poor – Putin

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) – The widening gap between the rich and the poor is “a real problem” for Russia, but there is an understanding how to address it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “With regard to the ‘scissors’ between rich and low-income people. This is a real problem on which we definitely should be working,” Putin said at the […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Meeting with Maxim Oreshkin and Denis Manturov” – KrmelinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – September 23, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov. The current economic situation and measures to support the Russian economy and industry were discussed. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I had agreed with each of you on separate occasions to meet and talk on the […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with business community representatives” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – September 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with representatives of the Russian business circles and associations. The meeting was attended by over 50 business leaders, CEOs of leading private companies and companies with government participation, banks and public organisations. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Before we start working and take our seats let us […]

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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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Russia Is an Emerging Superpower in Global Food Supply; Climate change is working against other regions but in favor of the Eurasian Grain Belt.

File Image, Map of Russian Wheat Production by Region, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 4, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Russia is often seen as a country that produces little that the world wants except energy commodities. The oil export dependence looks like a major time […]

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What Jolted Russia’s Investments Is About to Fizzle Out; From pipelines to cash registers, the factors that caused last quarter’s pickup in investment are only temporary

Gas Facility file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 30, 2017) [Text with charts bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/what-jolted-russia-s-investments-is-about-to-fizzle-out] Russian investments have spiked to a five-year high as the economy exited recession, but the factors that drove the boom are already fading. Fixed-capital investment accelerated an annual 6.3 percent in the second quarter, according to Bank of Russia estimates, the most since 2012. The jump […]

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Russians worry most about price rise, poverty, unemployment – poll

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MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – Price rise still tops the list of social problems in the eyes of Russians, although its topically has declined over recent years, from 78% in 2015 to 61% now, Levada Analytical Center told Interfax. The other two of the top three problems are poverty and massive destitution (45%), and growing unemployment, corruption and bribery (33%). […]

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Interfax: Russian GDP could grow more than 2% in Aug, 2017 – Oreshkin

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PARIS. Aug 29 (Interfax) – Russian GDP growth could quicken to more than 2% in August, Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin told reporters in Paris. The economy could also grow more than 2% for 2017 as a whole, he said following a meeting with French business leaders. “We expect growth [year-on-year GDP growth] will return to more than 2% as […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy boss: sanctions no longer bite” – AP

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Maxim Oreshkin … [said that] the Russian economy is on track to grow at least 2 percent this year. That would be a first after 2014, when the economy sank into recession driven by sinking oil prices and sanctions over Russian actions in Ukraine. … he said, ‘we see more willingness on the Asian side to work with us.’ He wouldn’t […]

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Interfax: Moscow press review for August 24, 2017 [excerpt][re: economy]

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MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) – The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on August 24. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories. POLITICS & ECONOMICS Given the protracted economic crisis and falling incomes, Russians are increasingly seeking work in the shadow economy. Since 2016, the share of Russians who have at least occasionally worked unofficially […]

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Piketty Zeroes In on Putin’s Pain Point; The West should stop relying on sanctions and instead target Russia’s massive offshore wealth.

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 14, 2017) After alerting the Western world to the alarming rise of inequality, Thomas Piketty has turned his attention to Russia. To someone who has lived through Russia’s transition from Communism to crony capitalism, his take on that transition reveals deep flaws in his overall methodology — but some of his conclusions […]

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Econ Min approves creation of priority development areas in 11 mono-cities

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

St. Petersburg. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The Russian Economic Development Ministry has approved the creation of priority development areas (PDA) in 11 mono-cities – cities that are predominantly dependant on one industry or factory – in nine constituent members of the Russian Federation, the minstry’s press service said. The Economic Development Ministry commission has approved the creation of PDAs in […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to become a net borrower for first time in a decade” – bne Intellinews

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“… Russia has been dipping into its rainy day Reserve Fund to cover the federal budget deficit but this fund is due to run out of money sometime next year. Now the government is actively preparing to dip into its other sovereign fund, the National Welfare Fund, that was set up to meet future pension payments, but now will be […]

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NEWSWATCH: “IMF says Russia’s economy is gradually recovering” – bne Intellinews

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“The IMF projects real growth of GDP in Russia at the level of 1.4% in 2017 …. According to the World Bank, the Russian economy will grow by 1.3% in 2017, while Russia’s economic development ministry put the figure at 2%. … noticeably in the last two months … both real disposable incomes and construction activity [have been] improving. …” Click […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Crawls Back To Life, But Locals Feel Uneasy” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

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“Russia’s economy surely is better than it was a year ago. But, tell that to the Russians. … 45% of them believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ despite a nice 3.1% recovery in economic growth over the last 12 months ending in May, according to … VTsIOM…. Higher food prices and declining savings were the biggest concerns …. Thanks to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Half of Russians see hardest crisis times still ahead” –  bne Intellinews

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“… Almost half of Russians (45%) believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ for them as the crisis unwinds, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).   Russia’s economy is recovering from its two-year recession and GDP growth is gathering momentum, putting in 3.1% growth year-on-year in May. Industrial production is recovering too, up […]

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Russia Ranked Among Worst Countries to Be a Pensioner

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 20, 2017) Russia has staked its claim as one of the five worst countries in the world for pensioners, according to a new report. The Natixis Global Retirement Index ranks Russia 40th out of 43 countries worldwide – below Turkey, China, and Mexico. Only Brazil, Greece, and India have an even lower score. Russia […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Is Vladimir Putin’s big collapse coming soon? Author Richard Lourie talks about how Putin’s failure to wean Russia off oil will destroy the nation’s economy” – Salon/ Richard Lourie / Carrie Sheffield

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

(Salon – July 18, 2017 – from: salon.com/2017/07/18/watch-is-vladimir-putins-big-collapse-coming-soon/) “Salon Talks sat down with Richard Lourie to discuss his book, “Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash.” Lourie argues that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will collapse, just as Imperial Russia did in 1917 and the Soviet Union did in 1991. He cites the Russian president’s failure to move the nation’s economy from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Rising prices and falling savings are Russians’ biggest fears” – bne Intellinews

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“Rising prices and falling savings are currently Russians’ biggest fears, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM). … Mounting food prices and declining savings topped the ranking of Russians’ fears in the middle of this year. However, the fears of a military conflict with the west has also been rising steadily, the poll found, reports […]

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Russia Caught Between Economic Decline and Potentially Explosive Demographic Change

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 5, 2017) Russia’s economic development ministry says that the country’s GDP growth will be approximately half of one percent lower each year because of projected declines in the number of workers in Russia in the coming decades, a decline that the ministry says must be fought by increasing immigration. But any […]

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