Power to the people; As Electric Yerevan showed, governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia will face the risk of social and political unrest when they move to compel their citizens to pay market rates for electricity.

Electrical Yard file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow and Nick Allen in Berlin – July 27, 2015) The Electric Yerevan protests in Armenia burned brightly before police finally quashed them in early July. But the issue of electricity tariffs that sparked the protests will not go away: nearly half the countries in Emerging Europe also face a similarly […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Bypassing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia’s Gazprom – Analysts

Gas Flame file photo

Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say.

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Medvedev Upbeat About Russian Economy, Ties With Europe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expects Russia’s recession-hit economy to start growing again at the end of the year, while he hopes for improving economic ties with friendly countries in southeastern Europe. “I think that the economy will return to the path of growth in late 2015, early 2016. It won’t […]

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Ukrainian President’s Russian Candy Factory Wins Case Against Russian Taxman

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) A local court has sided with a Russian chocolate factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a dispute with the tax authorities, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday citing a court statement. The decision is a rare victory for the Roshen Confectionary Factory in Lipetsk, about 440 kilometers south of Moscow, […]

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Russia Braces for Longest Recession in Decades With $50 Oil

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 22, 2015) For an economy that lives and dies by crude prices, the latest downturn in the world oil market means Russia’s recession may stretch into next year for the longest slump in two decades. Russia’s first economic slump since 2009 looked like it would plateau as oil gained 40 percent from […]

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Russia’s Beating the BRICS in 2015 on Turnaround Potential

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Maria Levitov – July 19, 2015) Which country would you invest in: a fast-growing economic powerhouse with a world-beating stock market or a tottering former superpower embroiled in a proxy war and heading for a recession? If at the start of 2015 you had chosen the second, Russia, you would be walking away with risk-adjusted returns […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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NEWSLINK Australian Financial Review: How Russia proved to be the best BRICS bet in 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Russia’s surge in fortunes presents a contrast with the events of December, when stocks tumbled almost 9 percent and the ruble sank to a record, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates to the highest in more than a decade. That marked the peak of turmoil that had begun with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and crude oil’s […]

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RBTH: Seventy percent of Russians opposed to compromise on sanctions – report

russia-economy

According to a new Levada Center opinion poll, 70 percent of Russian citizens believe that Russia should not make any sanctions-related concessions, even though a third of the population has admitted that sanctions are a problem. However, despite these difficulties, Russians continue to back President Vladimir Putin, whose popularity rating has never been higher. Experts have several theories for why […]

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Putin calls for BRICS to assert financial independence from West

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 10, 2015) With a total GDP of $32 trillion and uniting 43% of the world’s population, the BRICS grouping of emerging powers took an assertive global stance at its annual summit in the Russian city of Ufa, as it unrolled plans to rival Western-dominated financial institutions. Marking the organisation’s seventh […]

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Interfax: Putin says Eurasia’s not a chessboard, it’s our home

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

(Interfax – July 9, 2015) Russia and its neighbours in the Eurasian landmass should not be treated as a “chessboard” or a “geopolitical playing field”, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 9 July in remarks reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax. “For us, this isn’t a chessboard, it’s not a geopolitical playing field – this is our home, and […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Back-to-back Russia-hosted summits put Putin in coveted starring role.

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

Images of a Putin alongside leaders of other large countries, signing economic deals, will reinforce Russia’s argument that it doesn’t need the West. It’s a seductive view, but a superficial one, say analysts

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Russian weapons face West’s economic wall

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Rakesh Krishnan Simha, special to RBTH – July 8, 2015) Despite being technologically ahead, Russian weapons face a virtual ban in the West. However, the picture is entirely different in Asia. Russian weapons are good enough for China and India – countries flush with cash and able to afford the best – but […]

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Russia Searches for Post-G8 Footing at BRICS Summit

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – July 8, 2015) The leaders of the world’s biggest emerging economies will meet in Russia on Thursday for a powwow that Moscow hopes will demonstrate the futility of Western efforts to isolate the country. The summit of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – that opens Wednesday […]

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What Does Greece’s ‘No’ Vote Mean for Russia?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova, Delphine d’Amora – July 7, 2015) As EU leaders gather Tuesday to seek an answer to Greece’s sweeping rejection of international bailout terms, Russia -the EU’s third-largest trading partner – is quietly waiting to see where the chips fall. Hailed as a victory for democracy by Greece’s new far-left leaders, the resounding “no” […]

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Ruble’s Top Forecaster Sees Deeper Rout as Companies Repay Debt

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 2, 2015) Sanctions are once again catching up on the ruble. While still the best performer in the world this year, no emerging-market currency has fallen more in the past month as the effect of rebounding oil prices faded. Approaching foreign-debt payments and a shrinking economy probably mean it has a further […]

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Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 1, 2015) The news from the recent St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place from June 18 to 20, inspired a torrent of speculation on the future direction of energy prices. But the real buzz at the conference was the unexpected but much publicized visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, as an emissary […]

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Ukraine cancels gas supplies from Russia in pricing row

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 2, 2015) Ukraine suspended Russian natural gas purchases on July 1, citing its inability to secure from Gazprom a heavily discounted price for the third quarter of the year. Henceforth, the country’s state-owned monopoly Naftogaz will rely on supplies from the European Union, and claims that volumes bought from EU […]

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RIA Novosti: No plans for military alliance with Moscow, says Chinese envoy

Eurasia Map

(RIA Novosti – June 30, 2015) Li Hui, the Chinese ambassador to Russia, has said that Beijing has no plans to form a military alliance with Moscow. He made this statement during an in-depth interview published on the website of RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 30 June. (http://bit.ly/1FNjB7z) No threat to third parties […]

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Russia-China pipeline to be largest infrastructure project in world – premier

Gas Flame file photo

(Interfax – June 29, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has announced that the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russia to China, will be the world’s largest infrastructure project, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 29 June. Speaking at a ceremony dedicated to the start of construction of the Chinese part of the […]

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Russia’s Pivot to China Is Real

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 25, 2015) The search for alternative investors and markets has been a political priority for President Vladimir Putin and his government since Western countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia last year. The resulting pivot to China may seem merely cosmetic, but it is happening. Admittedly, most of the vague and extremely long-term […]

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Russia gripes to WTO about EU gas market laws

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Iana Dreyer in Brussels – June 24, 2015) Russia has formally requested that a dispute settlement panel be established at the World Trade Organization to rule on its complaints against EU energy market laws. From a legal and geopoliticial perspective, this is perhaps one of the most interesting cases the WTO will have to […]

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Putin Offers Little Change at Russia’s Top Economic Forum

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko and Peter Hobson – ST. PETERSBURG, June 22, 2015) More than a year into an economic firestorm that is pushing Russia into its first recession in six years, Russia’s flagship economic forum in St. Petersburg was titled “Time to Act.” With Western sanctions over Ukraine and fallen oil prices battering the economy, thousands […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Struggling Economy Clouds St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event

St. Petersburg

Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event.

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Russia Embraces Yuan in Move Against U.S. Dollar Hegemony

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – June 16, 2015) Russian financial authorities, energy companies and state-controlled banks are stepping up their use of China’s yuan currency as Western sanctions spur diversification away from the U.S. dollar. In recent weeks, major Russian institutions have lined up to announce moves to use the yuan, which will likely emerge as the […]

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IMF Offers Ukraine a Poisoned Chalice

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 10, 2015) A top International Monetary Fund official is offering Ukraine a generous gift: continued loans, even if it stops paying private creditors. It is, however, a trap of sorts. Accepting the deal risks undermining Ukraine’s ability to borrow on the open market and strengthening its dependency on the IMF. “If at […]

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Interfax: West loses tool of pressure on Russia after its withdrawal from G7 – Pushkov

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

MOSCOW. June 11 (Interfax) – The value of the G7 has markedly depleted in the U.S.’ eyes without Russia, State Duma International Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov has said. “To my mind, the G7 is merely another incarnation of the Western alliance, a club for friends of the United States of America. So, I believe its value has markedly depleted even […]

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Ukraine Seeks New Russia Gas Deal as Military Tensions Rise

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – June 9, 2015) Ukraine needs to negotiate a new natural-gas deal with Russia just as the conflict between the two countries risks escalating again. A gas-price agreement with Russian exporter OAO Gazprom expires at the end of the month and Ukraine requires fuel to replenish stockpiles before the winter. At the same time, […]

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Putin: Russia has no relations with G7 but ready to cooperate with its members bilaterally

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

(Interfax – June 10, 2015) Russia currently does not maintain any relationship with the G7, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We have no relations with the G7, what relations could there be?” Putin told journalists following negotiations with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on June 10. At the same time, “if our partners want it, we will be developing active […]

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World’s economic centre of gravity continues shift east

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-worlds-economic-centre-gravity-continues-shift-east] The leaders of the G7 industrialised nations met in Berlin on June 7, but their decisions are becoming less and less relevant to the rest of the world as the centre of global economic gravity moves relentlessly east. In 1990, the centre of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by President Obama in Press Conference after G7 Summit (excerpts)

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

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – Elmau Briefing Center, Krün, Germany, June 8, 2015) PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect to security, the G7 remains strongly united in support for Ukraine. We’ll continue to provide economic support and technical assistance that Ukraine needs as it moves ahead on critical reforms to transform its economy and strengthen its democracy. […]

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Russia to continue dealing with low oil price as no Opec cuts on agenda

Oil Wells File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – June 3, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/russia-continue-dealing-low-oil-price-no-opec-cuts-agenda] Opec members gathering in Vienna for the cartel’s biannual meeting on June 5 are indicating there will be no cuts in production, implying a calmer meeting to the last one in November that featured calls from some members for Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies […]

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Shadow Economy, Rural Self-Sufficiency Allowing Russia to Weather Sanctions, New Study Finds

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 31, 2015) Russia’s shadow economy and the self-sufficiency of Russians living outside of the major cities of the country “have allowed Russia to survive the crisis and the introduction of sanctions without large losses, according to five-year-long study of provincial society carried out by sociologists at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. […]

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Russia and Ukraine Trade Turnover Falls by Two-Thirds

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Russian trade turnover with Ukraine fell by around 60 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to a recent study by researchers at the World Trade Center Moscow, news agency RBC reported Wednesday. Russian exports to Ukraine fell 63.5 percent, from $8.1 billion to $2.9 billion, while imports of Ukrainian goods fell 60 percent from $4 billion to 1.6 billion between January and April […]

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Russia and Ukraine Trade Turnover Falls by Two-Thirds

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 28, 2015) Russian trade turnover with Ukraine fell by around 60 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to a recent study by researchers at the World Trade Center Moscow, news agency RBC reported Wednesday. Russian exports to Ukraine fell 63.5 percent, from $8.1 […]

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The Riga summit of disappointment

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 21, 2015) Several plucky countries of Emerging Europe have put their necks on the block by defying Russian bullying to join its Customs Union, turning instead to the EU and its promise of a better life. But most of these countries are likely to be disappointed, or could […]

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McCain Nixes Pentagon Plan to Use More Russian Rocket Engines

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 15, 2015) The United States will not allow domestic space companies to use more Russian rocket engines despite requests from the Pentagon, news agency Reuters reported, citing a letter written by U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee John McCain. In a response to a letter from U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter […]

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Currency Crisis Leaves Russian Scientists With No Funds for Foreign Journal Subscriptions

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 13, 2015) After scientists across Russia lost access to thousands of academic journals on Tuesday due to the ruble’s sharp devaluation, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov vowed to restore access to academic publishing giant Springer, Russian media reported. Universities and research institutions across the country lost access to Springer due to a […]

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Russia Was Right: Shale in Europe Has Proved a Dud

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova – May 11, 2015) When Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. opened an office in Poland in 2009, it had a reason to be optimistic: the shale boom was transforming the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of natural gas. To the companies rushing to imitate that success in Europe, Poland looked like the next Texas. […]

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Moscow Times: Russia Declared Best of BRICS in Developing Human Capital

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – May 14, 2015) Russia on Wednesday claimed 26th place in a global ranking of countries’ ability to foster human capital thanks to its highly educated populace, putting it first among the BRICS group of developing nations. Among BRICS members Russia led by a mile, according to the survey of 124 economies published […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Signs Putin Doesn’t Think He’s Lost the Sanctions Game; any reactions?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Secretary of State John Kerry‘s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday has revived one of Washington’s top guessing games: Is Mr. Putin impressed by Western sanctions? A well-informed Russian friend of mine told me Monday that Mr. Putin will not rethink his Ukraine strategy until he is convinced that Europe and the U.S. are able to make their […]

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EU Says No Visa Liberalization For Ukraine And Georgia

EU Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 8, 2015) The EU Commission has said neither Georgia nor Ukraine would obtain visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen zone at the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit later this month. Speaking in Brussels on May 8 after the EU Commission published its annual visa report on both countries, the spokeswoman for home affairs, Natasha Bertaud, said […]

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Oil’s Rebound Is Here

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 6, 2015) As Brent crude oil reached more than $68 per barrel Wednesday, a high for 2015, analysts started to backtrack on earlier predictions of $40-$50 oil. The rebound, however, may not last: Speculators appear to have disrupted Saudi Arabia’s strategic game against U.S. shale oil producers. Predicting oil prices is a […]

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Russian Economy May Be Stumbling Back To Its Feet

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Oilprice.com – Andy Tully – May 3, 2015) The Bank of Russia has cut interest rates for the third time so far this year, reinforcing forecasts by some government ministers that the country’s economic woes are beginning to stabilize. The central bank cut its key rate on April 30 to 12.5 percent, a reduction of 1.5 points, and said it would […]

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EU-Ukraine free trade talks with Russia likely to go nowhere

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – TRADE BLOG: Iana Dreyer in Brussels – April 27, 2015) The likelihood of trilateral talks involving Ukraine, the EU and Russia over Ukraine’s implementation of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) embedded in its Association Agreement with the EU – the deal that triggered the Ukraine crisis – is low. The continuing […]

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Poroshenko calls on EU leaders to give Ukraine prospect of EU membership

EU Map

KYIV. April 27 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the European Union to give Ukraine the prospect of EU membership. “I am calling on the EU to admit that Ukraine, like any other European state that respects and is ready to defend common values, can become an EU member in the future, supporting ambitions for European integration […]

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Agriculture eases Ukraine’s economic pain

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – April 22, 2015) While Ukraine’s steel, heavy engineering and power sectors have been crippled by the war in the east and the economic crisis, agriculture has become the country’s leading source of export revenue and the only sector putting in a positive performance. Even so, farmers are facing difficulties […]

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Russia faces ‘new reality’ as it counts cost of Ukraine crisis, says Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 22, 2015) Western sanctions and low oil prices caused Russia’s economy to shrink by 2% in the first three months of the year, the first time it contracted since 2009, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in Moscow on April 21 as he presented the government’s annual report to parliament. The country faced […]

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