Category Archives: Economy, Business, Investment, Trade

Foreign currency protests in Russia – a chance for the opposition?

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

While political demonstrations are on the slide, economic protests are on the rise in Russia. Can the two be united? (opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Florin – April 30, 2015) Dmitry Florin is an independent journalist based in Moscow, Russia. The Russian opposition is a broad church. Just as radical leftists hold their own marches, so do the liberals and the nationalists. […]

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Sanoma sells Vedomosti to comply with Russian media law

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 30, 2015) Finnish publishing company Sanoma has sold its 33.3% share in the Russian business daily Vedomosti to publishing executive Demyan Kudryavtsev, in the latest shake-up to Russia’s media landscape caused by new legislation limiting foreign ownership. The stake in Delovoi Standard, the publisher of the daily, was sold to […]

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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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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Beloved Borscht Reveals Reality of Inflation. Retired Siberian journalist tracks ingredients to document the country’s soaring food prices

Red Cabbage and Green Cabbages, adapted from image at pnnl.org

Russia had its most severe year-over-year monthly inflation in 13 years in March, the result of a plunge in crude oil prices, a devalued ruble and the Kremlin’s ban on an array of Western food imports imposed in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine. Overall, inflation climbed to 16.9% compared with a year earlier, according to the state statistics service, pinching […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russian Assets Regain Appeal for Investors. The country’s ruble, sovereign bonds, and stocks attract those seeking higher yields

St. Basil's Domes

Investors have taken Russia out of the penalty box. The ruble has gained 17.5% in 2015 against the U.S. dollar, after losing nearly half of its value in 2014, according to financial-data provider CQG. It has soared 46% from an intraday record low set in December. Russia’s stock index denominated in the ruble has soared 20% this year through Monday, […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: New Data Shows Russia’s Demography Is Rapidly Deteriorating

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

Sometimes labeled “the dying bear” or “the dying nation,” Russia has caught a lot of flack for its demographic problems. No demography isn’t the most popular topic in the world, it’s unfortunately quite a niche topic, but to the extent that anyone hears anything about Russia demography in the popular press they hear a tale of unmitigated calamity and woe.

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Why Foreign Investment in Russia’s Regions is Falling

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 28, 2015) Ninety-five percent of Russian regions are unattractive to foreign investors, a study released last week in Moscow found, in a sign that investment is likely to remain sluggish after Russia emerges from a deep recession. Only a few regions are managing to create favorable investment conditions for foreigners, according […]

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Open economy should be created in Russia – Putin

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

ST. PETERSBURG. April 28 (Interfax) – Raising private investment for different economic sectors, including the defense industry, is one of the key paths for the development of the Russian economy in general, President Vladimir Putin has said. “Raising private investment is one of the general paths of economic development as a whole. It is one of the main points that […]

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Putin sees growth of wages outrunning labor productivity as one of causes of economic crisis

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. April 27 (Interfax) – The causes of the crisis in the Russian economy are not only external, but also internal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As to overcoming the crisis in the Russian economy, we need to understand the causes to decide what to do […] There are, of course, external causes, but they are primarily internal,” Putin […]

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Russian Cabbage Prices Triple as Much-Loved Staple Falls Victim to Inflation

Red Cabbage and Green Cabbages, adapted from image at pnnl.org

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 27, 2015) The cost of a cabbage in Russia has almost tripled in less than six months. The Russian staple – and a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as the famous shchi soup – leads the field among foods suffering from inflation because of huge ruble devaluation in 2014 and […]

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Russia-Focused Funds Get Most Investment in 8 Months

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 27, 2015) Investment funds focused on Russia saw their largest weekly influx of cash since September last week, showing that international investors are now returning to Russia after last year’s torrential capital outflows, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. Funds concentrating on Russia gained $182 million in investment in the week ending April 22, more […]

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More Russians Believe Sanctions Will Result in Economic Crisis, Poll Shows

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 27, 2015) Six out of 10 Russians believe that Western sanctions against their country over the crisis in Ukraine could lead to financial upheavals, while the number of those who think a crisis can be avoided has shrunk to 31 percent from 55 percent a year earlier, according to a recent […]

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As Crisis Mounts, Russians Open Up Their Pocketbooks to Charities

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 22, 2015) Even as Russia’s economic crisis sees corporate donations decline dramatically, charitable organization are seeing more and more ordinary Russians step up to the plate. “The number of donations from big companies has fallen considerably since the beginning of last year,” said Victoria Agadzhanova, the executive director of charitable foundation […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: Here’s How Much Russian Stock Values Have Eroded Since Sanctions

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

For Russia investors, timing was everything.  Those who bought on the bad news of last summer were hit with more bad news come the end of summer when the U.S. sanctioned Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil. Then the Russian Central Bank went into panic mode and raised interest rates to save the ruble. The market sensed that the bank was getting […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Unpaid Russian Workers Unite in Protest Against Putin

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

After months of frustration with an economy sagging under the weight of international sanctions and falling energy prices, workers across Russia are starting to protest unpaid wages and go on strike, in the first nationwide backlash against President Vladimir V. Putin’s economic policies. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/world/europe/russian-workers-take-aim-at-putin-as-economy-exacts-its-toll.html?_r=0

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Strengthening of ruble due to growth of oil prices over – Yudayeva

Oil Wells File Photo

MOSCOW. April 22 (Interfax) – The strengthening of the ruble due to growth in prices for oil has ended, First Deputy Central Bank Governor Ksenia Yudayeva told journalists at the Forum for Financial Stability on Wednesday. “The strengthening of the ruble has ended, it has partially ended, what we saw was connected with the sharp movement upwards in prices for […]

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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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The Faltering Russian Economy Makes a Renewed Ukraine Offensive More Likely

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

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 73 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel K. Baev) “Boring” is perhaps the prevalent impression of President Vladimir Putin’s televised four-hour-long Q & A session that aired last Thursday (April 16), which was meant to demonstrate his good health and relaxed attitude to the great many problems worrying his loyal subjects. The three […]

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NEWSLINK AFP: Russia’s vast Arctic gas project aims to avoid Ukraine deep freeze

Arctic Map

Spread across the frozen whiteness of the Russian Arctic, the ambitious $27 billion Yamal gas megaproject aims to defy both the extreme temperatures and the Ukraine crisis impacting its funding. Some 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of Moscow, the Yamal site — a joint venture by Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and China’s CNPC — is eventually meant be one of […]

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Russian Global Trade Plummets as Economic Crisis Deepens

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 21, 2015) Russia’s trade turnover with the outside world plunged 30.1 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2015 as oil price falls, currency devaluation and tit-for-tat sanctions shook the Russian economy. The value of Russia’s international trade fell to $83.3 billion over January and February, according to data published […]

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Ruble Rebound Slows Russia’s Rampant Food Price Inflation

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – April 21, 2015) The ruble’s rapid recovery in recent weeks has seen prices on some foods fall, easing months of spiraling inflation and softening one of the most widely felt blows of Russia’s economic crisis. All major retailers contacted by The Moscow Times last week said that the ruble’s rebound of some […]

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NEWSLINK CNBC: Why Russia is more confident: Finance Minister

Anton Siluanov file photo

Russia’s economy has been through a series of seismic shocks in the past year – but there are increasing reasons to be optimistic as the amount of money being pulled out of the country slows, according to the country’s Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov.

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Ukraine plays hard ball with private creditors

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 20, 2015) Ukraine is ready to play hard ball in its bid to restructure $15.3bn in foreign debt, was the signal sent by Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko to corporate bondholders in Washington on April 17. The government wants to secure a $40bn bailout package assembled with the International Monetary Fund […]

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Russia Economy Recovering as Oil Reliance Eases, Dvorkovich Says

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – David Tweed, Haslinda Amin – April 20, 2015) Russia’s economy showed signs of recovery in the first and second quarters amid a declining dependence on oil, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said. “Oil prices are not as important to the Russian economy as before,” Dvorkovich told Bloomberg TV Monday at the World Economic Forum on […]

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Weak Russian Economic Data Blunt Putin’s Optimism

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 20, 2015) The ruble slumped 4 percent and Moscow-listed stocks fell on Friday after official data showed that Russia’s economy contracted sharply in the first quarter of this year. The data, which showed a deep decline in real wages and consumer spending, came a day after President Vladimir Putin told Russians […]

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NEWSLINK CNBC: Russia has bigger concerns than oil, ruble: Deputy PM

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

Faced with the triple whammy of plunging oil prices, currency volatility and Western sanctions, there’s no dearth of challenges for Russia’s ailing economy, but Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said what hurts most is the scarcity of financing for new investments. “The shortness of financing for new investments is where the Russian economy is being hit in the most important […]

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Putin says Russia has weathered sanctions storm

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 16, 2015) In an anticipated display of defiance towards Russia’s Western critics, President Vladimir Putin on April 16 said his country is not to blame for the continuing conflict in Eastern Ukraine, has now weathered the worst of the sanctions storm, and can expect economic growth to resume in two […]

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Moody’s: Russian inflation to peak at 17%-18% in Q2 2015, drop below 10% by mid-2016

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 15 (Interfax) – Moody’s Investors Service expects Russian inflation to peak at 17%-18% in the second quarter of 2015 and to drop below 10% by mid-2016 as the impact of the ruble’s depreciation fades, Moody’s said in a report on Russia’s banking sector in 2015. “Therefore Central Bank of Russia (CBR) is likely to loosen monetary policy on […]

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Eastern Ukraine returns to the ruble

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv, Mari Bastashevski in Donetsk – April 15, 2015) The Russian ruble is gaining ground against the hryvnia across rebel-held parts of East Ukraine’s Donbas region, 19 years after Kyiv introduced the national currency to end the country’s membership of the ruble zone. As Eastern Ukraine heads towards becoming a frozen […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia must review participation in international funds – finance minister

Anton Siluanov file photo

Russia must review its participation in international financial organisations because the country is paying too much in fees, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/15/russia-crisis-internationalfunds-idUSR4N0X602D20150415

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NEWSLINK AFP: More gloom ahead for Moscow and former Soviet region, says IMF

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday predicted more pain for the Russian economy and gloom around the ex-Soviet region despite positive noises from Moscow that the worst of the crisis might be over. Russia’s economy is expected to shrink by 3.8 percent this year as sanctions imposed by the West over the conflict in Ukraine and low oil prices push […]

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Putin’s Mideast Gains Trump $27 Billion Loss From Iran Agreement

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Stephen Bierman – April 14, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he’s willing to take an economic hit to expand his political influence. He’s taking the same approach with Iran. Lifting sanctions and allowing Iranian oil onto global markets would threaten to deepen the plunge in crude […]

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Russia Sees Further Drop in Capital Outflows as Economy Adjusts

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Anna Andrianova – April 14, 2015) Russian capital outflows will slow further as bonds and the ruble stage a comeback following a sell-off last year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. Net outflows will slow to $15 billion in the second quarter after a “sharp decline” in the previous three months, bringing the total for […]

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Interfax: Fall of Russian economy less than expected – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Russian economy for January-February 2015 declined 1.9% year-on-year and the reduction was less than was forecast, Russian Prime Ministry Dmitry Medvedev said at an expanded meeting of the Finance Ministry on Tuesday in Moscow. “At the start of the year, we noted a certain decline of the economy. In January-February it was 1.9%, according […]

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Russian Capital Flight Slows to $32.6 Billion in First Quarter

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2015) Net capital outflow from Russia was $32.6 billion in the first quarter of the year, down from $72.9 billion in the previous three months, suggesting that panic over Russia’s economic crisis has receded, data published this week by the Central Bank showed. Capital flight from Russia nearly tripled in 2014 from the […]

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Almost all net capital outflow from Russia in Q1 due to debt payments – CBR

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 13 (Interfax) – The private sector net capital outflow from Russia of $32.6 billion in the first quarter of 2015 was almost completely due to payments on the foreign debt of the private sector, which amounted to $29.8 billion, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) said in comments released by its press service. Another $2.9 billion of the […]

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Millions of Russians Edge Toward Poverty as Economic Pressure Mounts

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 13, 2015) Clutching two plastic bags full of clothes she had just collected from a charity center in central Moscow, Svetlana Burkutskaya said that rising prices were making it harder for her to find enough money to put food on the table for her three school-age children. “There is not sufficient […]

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Chart – Putin ratings defy grim economic outlook

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – April 10, 2015 – bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-putin-ratings-defy-grim-economic-outlook) 25 years after Ronald Reagan left the White House, it would seem that Russia has its own ‘Teflon President’ in Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s consistently high ratings show that his and Reagan’s similarities go beyond a Hollywood penchant for horse riding and rifle-toting, […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian ex-minister [Kudrin] says turned down government job offers over “half-hearted” reforms

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(RIA Novosti – April 7, 2015) Aleksey Kudrin, Russia’s finance minister from 2000 to 2011, has said he still receives offers to return to the government but has turned them down because of “half-hearted” reforms, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 7 April. “My leaving the government, as is well-known, was related to […]

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World Bank warns of looming two-year recession in Russia

World Bank Building

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – April 8, 2015) A report released by the World Bank projects no economic growth in Russia either in 2015 or 2016. This forecast is at odds with the figures from the Russian Ministry of the Economy, which predicts an economic growth of 2.3 percent as early as in 2016. […]

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Ulyukayev: GDP decline won’t exceed 3% in 2015; industrial output to drop 1%-1.5%

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

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – The decline in Russia’s GDP in 2015 will not exceed 3%, industrial production will drop 1%-1.5%, and investment in fixed assets will fall 11%, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said. “We assume that this year under the most conservative estimate of the oil market situation – $50 per barrel – we will have a decline […]

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Moscow Times: Ruble Hits New 2015 Highs in World’s Best Currency Rebound

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 8, 2015) The Russian currency strengthened rapidly Wednesday as a recent rally driven by greater confidence in the ruble and easing international tensions overpowered the downward pressure of a sliding oil price. The ruble jumped over 3 percent in morning trading to 53.4 against the U.S. dollar before weakening slightly to […]

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Russian store assistants smiling more, says customer service report

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 7, 2015) Russia has come 15th out of 69 countries for the friendliness of its customer service, according to data from the Smiling Report, an annual evaluation of how warmly shoppers are greeted around the world. Analysts and industry insiders say that Russia’s approach to customer service has drastically changed in […]

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Will Putin Rescue Greece’s Tsipras?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 7, 2015) As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares for talks with President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow beginning on Wednesday, experts, officials and European leaders have been left guessing whether the two men might hammer out an economic deal. The meeting was announced less than a month ago […]

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No artificial liquidity crunch – Nabiullina

File Photo of Elvira Nabiullina at OECD Event, at Podium and On Large Video Screen

MOSCOW. April 7 (Interfax) – There’s no artificial deliberate liquidity crunch in Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank, said. “There’s no artificial liquidity crunch,” she said. She said the ruble was strengthening due to the stabilization of oil prices, and end to peak foreign debt repayments and a high key rate. “Some people have described the ruble’s strengthening […]

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Half of Russians say political, economic position of their country mediocre – poll

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

(Interfax – April 6, 2015) Fifty percent of Russians are happy with their life, which is 7 percent more than a year ago (43 percent), the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said. Twenty percent are not happy (14 percent in 2014) and 28 percent have mixed feelings (42 percent in 2014), the center said, quoting a poll of 1,600 respondents […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Greece Should Be Wary of Mr. Putin

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

The Greek government is facing a series of daunting challenges. It has to come up with money to pay off maturing debts, revive its devastated economy and renegotiate its loan agreements with other countries in the eurozone. Given those difficulties, it might be tempting — though misguided — for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to seek financial or other support from […]

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Russia’s Shrinking Services Sector Less Miserable Than Before

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – April 3, 2015) Cautious optimism is beginning to emerge in Russia’s services sector, even as business activity continues to drop and the Russian economy veers toward recession, a report by international bank HSBC found. The services sector continued to shrink in March, but at a much slower rate than in February, when business […]

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