NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Post-Election Economy: Down, But Not Out. Parliamentary elections are rapidly approaching, but this time politicians aren’t making any pie-in-the-sky promises.” – Moscow Times/Boris Grozovsky
By any measure, the Russian economy is deep in a classic recession: GDP has dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter. If Russia had political competition, these elections would pose a challenge for both the ruling party and the opposition. But without real competition, politicians are under little pressure to lift the economy out of the current crisis. … * * * The shortage of funds will probably force the authorities to raise the retirement age and income tax – but, naturally, only after 2018. … the government will continue its fiscal policy of restraint in the hope oil prices start rising again. … the Kremlin has learned to keep the Russian people happy using geopolitical victories. If they can manipulate the public mood with claims of fighting corruption and military feats in foreign lands, the leaders have no need to spend money.