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

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(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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Russians Toast Recession as Pubgoers Drink ‘Less But Better’

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov, Andrey Lemeshko – November 30, 2016) A staple drink of Russia’s recession comes in different flavors but it’s best consumed standing up. Food is optional. Not a beer country until the arrival a decade ago of a central European tradition of sit-down bars that married brews with hearty meals, Russia is now reveling in […]

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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 CNN: “Dining under Putin: How sanctions are fueling a Russian food revolution”

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“Import bans have failed to put the kibosh on Russia’s culinary inventiveness. Restaurants are returning to what Russia does best, such as traditional dishes made with root vegetables such as beetroot.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – November 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects to discuss support for non-resource exports and environmental development. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today we will look into measures to support non-resource exports and to improve the environmental situation in the country. We need to form a […]

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Russia Is Finally Making Headway In Its Pivot East

Asia Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – November 22, 2016) Russia’s long planned pivot east found itself unexpectedly wrong-footed in early 2014, following the Crimean referendum and subsequent western rebuke. The global collapse of oil prices – and that of the ruble – later that same year further eroded Russia’s leverage in Asia. Fast forward to the present and we’ve seen substantially […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia’s economic line after minister’s dismissal to remain unchanged – view” [Andrei Kostin]

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

“The dismissal of Alexei Ulyukayev from position of the economic development minister would not affect the country’s economic line, VTB’s CEO Andrei Kostin said ….”

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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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Kudrin’s 13 Points about What Russia Must Do to Overcome Its Backwardness

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 21, 2016) At the conclusion of the All-Russian Civic Forum, Aleksey Kudrin, the head of the Civic Initiatives Committee, outlined his ideas about what Russia needs to do over the next 20 years to avoid disaster and return to modernization and democracy. Znak’s Dmitry Kolesev has organized them as 13 theses. […]

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How the Russian Economy Hit Rock Bottom

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Prokopenko – November 17, 2016) The decline of the Russian economy has slowed, according to the State Statistics Service. The Economic Development Ministry has stated that gross domestic product rose by just 0.1 percent from the second to the third quarter of 2016. However, it is still too early to talk about a recovery […]

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Cheapest Labor Since Tsars Ruled Russia a Draw for Samsung, Ikea

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Ilya Khrennikov – November 16, 2016) Made in Russia and coming soon to a store shelf near you: washing machines, chewing gum and possibly much else. A combination of the country’s worst currency crisis since 1998 and an unprecedented slide in real wages for most of the past two years has resulted in salaries […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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Inside Russia’s beleaguered vocational education sector

Russia Map

Changes in educational funding make vocational education Russia’s Cinderella sector. (opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova – November 16, 2016) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Each year for the last four years, students at Russia’s technical and vocational colleges – builders, mill operators, carpenters, cabinet makers, not to mention florists, beauticians, cooks and […]

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Updates: Russian Economy Minister Ulyukayev Appears in Court on Corruption Charge

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

The longstanding minister has been formally charged on corruption allegations. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 15, 2016) Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has appeared in Moscow’s Baumansky court to face corruption allegations. Ulyukayev was charged with accepting a $2-million bribe on Tuesday, having been arrested by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) late on Monday night. The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Visit to Avtodizel plant (excerpt)

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 12, 2016) [DJ: For a better sense of real issues in Russia that concern Putin read the complete long transcript here: en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/53244] During his trip to Yaroslavl, Vladimir Putin visited the Avtodizel Yaroslavl Motor Plant, part of the GAZ Group, which produces goods under the YaMZ brand. The President saw the production process and met with the […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Central Bank anticipates remaining anti-Russia sanctions”

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“The recovery may be stretched over time at present because [economic growth] factors should be different, unlike those before the oil price collapse. We understand this pretty well and speak about changing the behavior model of the economy and its development model. Economic recovery signs surfaced by now and the Bank of Russia expects minor growth of GDP,” Nabiullina said.

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NEWSLINK Business New Europe: “Russian Markets Hit Record High On Trump Optimism”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s ruble denominated Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) index set a new all time high of 2061.68 on November 10 on the bounce back that followed the election of Donald Trump as US president. Trump is seen as good news for Russia that is fuelling hopes of a de-escalation in tensions between the countries. The previous MICEX high was set […]

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Half of Russians at Risk of Poverty, Says World Bank

World Bank Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 10, 2016) Half of Russia’s population risks falling into poverty, a report from the World Bank has revealed. Some 21.4 million people – or 14.6 percent of the population – fell below Russia’s national poverty line in the first half of 2016, with disposable incomes shrinking on average by 5.8 percent. The number of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – November 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the international conference Into the Future: Russia’s Role and Place, organised by Russia’s oldest bank, Sberbank, to mark its 175th anniversary. The conference focused on forecasting and analysing future technology trends, discussing the main outlines for technological development, and examining the potential benefits and risks their mass use could bring. […]

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Trump’s Energy and Trade Policies May Hurt Russia More than Western Sanctions Do, Moscow Analysts Say

Donald Trump

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 10, 2016) Even though Vladimir Putin hopes that Donald Trump will end the sanctions regime against Russia, the president-elect’s commitment to protectionism, an expansion in US production of oil and gas and a re-industrialization of America “may have the most negative consequences for the Russian economy,” according to Moscow analysts. In […]

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Russia hopes for good relations with U.S., but financial policy making to stay conservative – Siluanov

Anton Siluanov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – Russia is hoping to make progress in relations with the United States, but will make sure it is in a position to honor its commitments in any scenario by not factoring possible improvements into its financial policy, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters. “We pursue an economic and fiscal policy that does not and must […]

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NEWSWATCH: “World Bank Improves Russia Economic Outlook, Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in 2017” – Reuters

World Bank Building

… the World Bank said …. Russian gross domestic product will contract by 0.6 percent … oil prices are projected to recover to an average of $55 per barrel in 2017 [and] the Russian economy is expected to bottom out in the second half of this year. The World Bank sees it growing by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.7 […]

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For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes/Sara Hsu: “Is A Russia-China Economic Alliance On The Horizon?”

Asia Map

“As Russia continues to contend with sanctions from the United States and European Union after annexing Crimea in 2014, it has cast its eye on a new ally: China. The two countries are already aligning themselves for security purposes, a prime example being their position against the U.S. missile shield deployment plans in South Korea. Both China and Russia have […]

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NEWSLINK Politics.eu: “Russia’s boom (farming) economy. Kremlin credits Western sanctions. The truth is more complicated.”

Field of Grain file photo

“… When the West slapped sanctions on Russia in 2014 and Moscow retaliated with a trade embargo, the consensus was that Moscow was shooting itself in the foot by banning fresh produce from the EU. A little more than two years later, the Kremlin insists the sanctions have galvanized a new generation of Stakhanovite farmers to smash production targets and propel the country […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s oil output in October hits new post-Soviet era high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia’s oil output set a new post-Soviet era record high in October, rising 0.1 percent from September to 11.2 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data showed …. underscor[ing] the difficulty the government could have in freezing output levels as part of a global pact with other top producers [to impact prices] …. Oil and gas sales account for […]

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Putin’s Maverick Adviser Defies Nabiullina With $64 Billion Plan

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – October 30, 2016) Sergei Glazyev agrees with President Vladimir Putin that shock therapy would be ill-advised for Russia. Which is also where he parts ways with his boss. Ever since the central bank’s shift to a free-floating exchange rate in late 2014, the country has been under the onslaught of policies that have […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: “Factbox: How Russia is ramping up its oil output in 2016-2017”

Oil Well file photo

… Putin, who has pledged to join a global pact to cap oil output, gave the green light on Monday to start production at a new Caspian Sea field owned by country’s No.2 oil producer Lukoil, the second launch in a week. Russian oil production is expected to reach 547 million tonnes this year (10.95 million barrels per day), rising […]

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The Beginning Of The End For Europe’s Natural Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – October 27, 2016) Russia’s Gazprom is on the verge of striking a deal with EU regulators to settle a half-decade old dispute over natural gas pricing, and the resolution could change the way Gazprom does business and lead to lower gas prices for much of Eastern Europe. The conflict began back in 2011 when EU […]

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Russian oil reserves reach 29.4 billion tonnes since Jan 2015, gas reserves – 70.3 trillion cu m

Gas Flame file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – Russian ABC1+C2 oil reserves increased 0.7% to 29.4 billion tonnes in the period from January 1, 2015 through September 1, 2016, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in materials. Reserves in the unallocated fund totaled 1.8 billion tonnes, while allocated reserves totaled 27.6 billion tonnes. ABC1+C2 gas reserves reached 70.3 trillion cubic meters as […]

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Russians Turning Against Putin Regime Thus Making Revolutionary Change More Likely, Solovey Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 30, 2016) Deep background sociological research is showing that Russia is at the beginning of “a significant transformation of mass consciousness” that will eliminate much of the loyalty to the regime that the populace now shows in a way that will recall what happened at the end of Soviet times, Valery […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s renewed might rests on weak economic foundations. Putin bravado does not extend to modernisation of the economy” – Financial Times/Neil Buckley

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

… the gap between the image … Putin portrayed … and the reality was exposed by a sobering assessment of Russia’s economy by another senior official … further emphasised by a draft budget … envisaging a 27 per cent cut in defence spending …. the official … made it clear how Russia’s ambitions clash with its capabilities. … western sanctions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China. Nostalgia for Communist past as well as capitalist bargain-hunting draw more Chinese visitors.” – Wall Street Journal

Asia Map

Russia’s relations with the West have deteriorated amid the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and its economy has been battered by punitive sanctions and low oil prices. But the country is welcoming record numbers of Chinese visitors, who are taking advantage of a weak ruble, visa-free group travel, and the opportunity to retrace Communist history. … More than 1.1 million […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian oil production reached post-Soviet high. Moody’s says profitability of Russian energy companies will be robust” – UPI

Oil Well file photo

A ratings agency assessing the profitability of Russian energy companies said oil production for September reached a post-Soviet high. … Sanctions and lower crude oil prices put pressure on the Russian economy. Moody’s said … most Russian energy companies were shielded by a look toward the domestic market and state-controlled banks. … Meeting with … Putin this week, … Medvedev […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/RBC: “Is it necessary to break the law to improve your standard of living?”

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

According to the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), 30 percent of Russians see a link between increasing their standard of living and breaking the law.

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U.S. Stuck With Nobody Left to Sanction in Russia Over Syria

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nick Wadhams – October 26, 2016) The U.S. put sanctions on Russia’s main arms exporter, Kremlin aides and the black leather-loving head of a motorcycle gang nicknamed “The Surgeon” after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Now, as Washington seeks ways to punish Moscow for its actions in Syria, it may be running out of options. President […]

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Russia’s Oil Industry Is Making The Most Of A Weak Ruble; Record Oil Production and Capital Spending Supported by Favorable FX Rate

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – October 21, 2016) While Russian federal revenue from oil and natural gas production has declined significantly in response to low oil prices, oil and natural gas companies have actually increased investments or only seen modest declines, according to the EIA. In ruble terms, the Brent price has actually increased by 40 percent from 2010 levels, while decreasing in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The New Poor: How The Ongoing Crisis Has Devoured Russia’s Small Middle Class” – Moscow Times/Boris Grozovsky

Cash, Calculator, Pen

This winter will mark three years since Russia abruptly embarked on a course of political and economic isolation. Lower oil prices and the devaluation of the ruble dealt a serious blow to the population’s economic well-being. By its own evaluation, Russia’s middle class shrank by more than 16 percent, shedding an incredible 14 million people. Click here for Moscow Times/Boris […]

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Russia Faces 20 Years of Stagnation and Then Disaster, Navalny Says

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 21, 2016) The prediction by the Russian economic development ministry that Russia will not be able to overcome stagnation has sparked predictions that at the end of that period, Russia will face something even worse, with the optimists thinking this possibility will force the regime to change and the pessimists concluding […]

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Russia Shifts Focus From Oil To Agriculture

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Michael McDonald – October 13, 2016) Michael MaDonald is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. Russia’s biggest industry has been oil production historically, but the country appears to be trying to diversify that by putting more emphasis on agriculture. The former soviet state has been relying on […]

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Russia’s Widening Wealth Divide Poses Risks to Central Bank

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – October 19, 2016) The Bank of Russia is discovering yet another downside to how little is left of the country’s middle class. The central bank has warned that its ability to steer inflation is at risk from growing wealth inequality and the disappearance of the middle-income households that are the most sensitive to […]

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MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIA’S CURRENT SYSTEM OF BUSINESS OVERSIGHT INEFFECTIVE

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

Interfax: Daily Headline News for October 19, 2016 [excerpt re Medvedev] Control and oversight activity in Russia in its current form is not effective enough, and is corrupt and unmanageable, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. “It is clear that control and oversight activity in the form it currently exists causes very much criticism, and is considered to […]

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Econ Ministry restores original GDP forecasts under baseline scenario – newspaper

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) – The Russian Economic Development Ministry has restored its original baseline GDP growth forecasts: 0.6% in 2017, 1.7% in 2018 and 2.1% in 2019, the newspaper Vedomosti reported, citing the final version of the forecast forwarded to the Finance Ministry, which will subsequently be submitted to the government together with the budget. The baseline scenario, which […]

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Exxon Has Lost Over $1 Billion From Russian Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – October 14, 2016) Exxon has turned into a collateral victim of the U.S. economic sanctions against Russia. So while supermajor BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley said earlier this week that he was “a little saddened” with the way the Deepwater Horizon movie has painted his company, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson has perhaps an even greater reason […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Ulyukayev at] The 30th session of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(Government.ru – October 17, 2016) The participants discussed proposals to improve customs legislation and technical regulation, develop the banking and financial sectors, and increase investment in agriculture, the processing industry and pharmaceuticals production. Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks: The Foreign Investment Advisory Council, which was established in 1994, proved to be a good format in great demand and very useful for […]

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NEWSLINK RTBH: “Kremlin seeking to repatriate children of Russia’s elite, say reports”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

Amid growing tensions between Russia and the West, Russian media have reported that the children of officials who are living abroad will soon have to return to Russia.

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian journalists

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

(Kremlin.ru – October 16, 2016) The President of Russia answered questions from Russian journalists following the BRICS Summit. Question: Much is being said in the Western media about BRICS going through a rough patch. Since Brazil got a new president, the country has been allegedly thinking whether it needs BRICS. There is little secret about the tension that exists between […]

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