Russians Don’t Believe Kremlin about Coronavirus or the Economy, New Surveys Show

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

Two new surveys show the collapse of public trust in the powers that be …. [T]he level of trust in Russia today is lower than it has been in 15 years […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russian imperialism could bring down Putin” – The Hill/ Janusz Bugajski

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin has based his domestic support on economic growth and restoring the ‘Russian World.’ With the Russian economy in a nosedive, the Kremlin looks increasingly likely to attack a former Soviet neighbor to revive its imperial credentials. … Russia invaded Georgia to divert public attention from the 2008 financial crisis, and … invaded Ukraine to help quash growing protests […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin sets new 2030 goals as National Projects scaled back” – bne Intellinews

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a ‘July Decree’ … outlin[ing] … national development goals up to 2030 …. risk[ing] … [failure to] fulfill[] … [his] previous economic platform due to the … COVID-19[] crisis. … [with] deadlines for [the] National Projects spending spree … being pushed from 2024 to 2030. [The new platform] outline[s] five development goals: 1) maintaining the population, […]

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Former Russian Finance Minister Says Economy ‘In Stagnation,’ Needs More Government Spending

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A respected former Russian finance minister said the nation’s economy is stagnating and the government needs to invest more in education and health in order to drive growth […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin delays $360bn spending plan as Covid-19 batters economy” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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

“Volte-face comes shortly after vote that allows Russian president to extend his rule for another 16 years.” “… Putin has delayed his flagship … national investment plan by six years as the coronavirus pandemic pitches Russia into recession and leaves a hole in the federal budget. … Putin unveiled the so-called National Projects two years ago as a much-needed Rbs25.7tn […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Economic crisis likely not to be protracted; not all risks from coronavirus removed yet – Manturov” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. July 7 (Interfax) – The current signs of recovery suggest that the economy will not become bogged down in a protracted phase of the crisis, Industry and Trade Minister, Denis Manturov, said on Tuesday during the online international industrial marathon, Innoprom, which is a platform uniting exhibition events, online sessions and congresses, as well as educational workshops. “Of course, […]

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Russians Increasingly Angry that They Live in Poverty in a Country So Rich in Natural Resources

Oil Well file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 28, 2020) The pandemic and associated economic crisis have exacerbated widespread anger among Russians that they live in poverty despite the enormous natural wealth of their country and its sale earlier abroad for more than six trillion US dollars. Had even a small part of that money gone to the people, […]

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How Bad are Things in Russia? For First Time in 15 Years, Moscow Doesn’t Publish Monthly GDP Figures

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 13, 2020) For the first time since 2005, the Russian finance ministry did not issue monthly GDP data for May, an indication of just how bad the figures almost certainly would have been and a sign that not publishing data may become a trend in Putin’s Russia (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/minfin-zasekretil-dannye-po-vvp-rossii-za-may-1029303651 and rbc.ru/economics/12/06/2020/5ee268459a79476bd86bbda3). Among […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Starts to Dig Its Way Out of a Coronavirus Economic Hole” – Moscow Times

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The Russian economy is set to emerge from the coronavirus crisis on the same slow and steady trajectory it had settled on heading into it, economists believe.

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s consumer orientated business takes the brunt of the coronacrisis blow, basic sectors down 10% in April” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Russia’s basic sector output was down 9.9% year on year in April … [with] the effects of the coronacrisis …. Over the first four months … Russia’s basic sector output fell 0.9% y/y, versus 2.3% growth in 1Q20. … [Only] [a]griculture … show[ed] growth. All … other subsectors contracted in April. Retail, services, manufacturing and wholesale suffered the most …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pandemic Upends Putin’s Plans to Raise Russia’s Dwindling Birthrate” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

“President Vladimir Putin has been trying for years to push Russia’s birthrate higher, but the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is undermining his efforts” “… The Kremlin has been trying for years to encourage Russians to have more children. … Putin sees replenishing … population as … key to expanding Russia’s economic and political power. But … falling incomes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian government presents National Recovery Plan to President Putin” – bne Intellinews

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“… Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has presented the National Recovery Plan to … Putin … [with] a launch at the beginning of July. … [T]he government has rolled out two economic support packages, worth RUB3.1 trillion ($42.1bn), or 2.8% of GDP. The RUB7.3 trillion final recovery plan was cut from the previously reported RUB8 trillion plan … includ[ing] the two […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Prices Economic Recovery Plan at $70Bln” – Moscow Times

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Russia will launch a 5 trillion ruble ($73 billion) recovery plan next month to offset economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin […]

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Putin To Bail Out Russian Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 25, 2020) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with implementing a set of measures aimed at supporting the oil industry for the duration of the OPEC+ production cut agreement. According to a document published on the website of the Russian presidency, the measures include a prescription not to sanction companies that stray […]

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Many Russians Expect to Lose Jobs, Take Pay Cuts in Wake of Pandemic

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

Almost half of Russians expect layoffs within their household in the coming months and almost one-third have already had someone in their household recently fired, according to a poll conducted April 26-28 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s GDP shrinks by 20% in April, but government maintains a triple surplus” – bne Intellinews

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“… Russia’s nominal GDP shrank … 28%, of which two-thirds was due to the nation-wide lockdown … another third … due to … oil prices, the Ministry of Finance said …. The real contraction of the economy in April could be 20%, according to the Ministry …. [T]he government has reported … surplus[es] [for] the trade balance, currency account and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Profit Slumps Herald More Trouble Ahead for Russia’s Corporate Giants” – Moscow Times

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Russian companies’ first quarter financial results are already showing the impact of the coronavirus. The worst is yet to come. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – May 18, 2020) Russia’s blue chip companies have posted some of the bleakest financial results for years in the first few months of 2020, with analysts saying the hit to earnings will […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Economic Woes Continue to Mount During Coronavirus Outbreak” – Moscow Times

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As the Kremlin resists pressure to spend, official statistics show economic activity down by a third and tax revenues crashing. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – May 6, 2020) Jake Cordell covers business & economics for The Moscow Times. A third of the Russian economy has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus lockdown, the Russian government […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As coronavirus hits record numbers in Russia, this is a dangerous moment for Putin” – CNN/ Nathan Hodge

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russia hit a grim milestone … officially recording the highest number of coronavirus cases the country has seen in a 24-hour period, with 10,633 people testing positive. … [T]he economic pain is worsening … Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state television … ‘I don’t recall anything like this,’ … adding that plummeting global oil prices — a primary source […]

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Russia’s Energy Czar, Disliked And Feared, Catches Blame As Oil Prices Collapse, Venezuela Deals Crumble

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

March was the cruelest month for one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving and most hawkish confidants[,] Igor Sechin … head of state oil company Rosneft …

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economic woes will clip Vladimir Putin’s wings; Pandemic combined with collapsing oil prices spells real hardship” – Financial Times

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

“… Putin’s … oil price war with Saudi Arabia … was disastrously timed. … days before the coronavirus pandemic began forcing economies around the world into lockdown, cutting crude demand. Russia then succumbed to the virus itself. … [Putin] had to cancel a referendum to approve constitutional changes …. The IMF forecasts Russian [GDP] could contract by 5.5 per cent […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Facing Disaster, Russian Businesses Find Kremlin Aid Lacking” – AP

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“Desperate [Russian] business owners … have been pleading with the Kremlin for help in the pandemic shutdown. The response … has been slow and largely focused on big industries, leaving most smaller companies to fend for themselves … raising the prospect of massive unemployment and social unrest. The Kremlin’s anti-crisis measures reflect its long-held emphasis on state-controlled companies and a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “CBR reiterates, strengthens monetary policy signal: scale of shock requires broad steps, economy to require low-cost funds” – Interfax

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. April 28 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia (CBR), which cut its key rate by 50 basis points last Friday for the first time in six months and said that further monetary easing was possible at its next meeting, has reiterated its dovish signal and even strengthened it somewhat. “We must be able to mitigate the blow to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Cuts Interest Rate to Shore Up Faltering Economy” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

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The central bank takes action as the country lurches towards a recession. “Russia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate in a move to shore up the country’s economy as it lurches toward a deep recession due to depressed oil prices and shutdowns over the spread of the coronavirus. … lower[ing] its key rate by a deeper-than-usual 50 basis points […]

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As Economic Crisis Deepens, More Russians Say Putin Defends the Interests of the Oligarchs than Say He Supports Those of the Siloviki

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 12, 2020) Something remarkable has happened: For the first time since he became president, more Russians say that Vladimir Putin works to defend the interests of the oligarchs than the number who say he defends the positions of the siloviki, according to a Levada Center poll reported by Vedomosti. The percentage […]

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RUSSIALINK: “OPEC+ Deal Will Help Russia Avoid ‘Market Chaos,’ But Provides Little Support to Embattled Economy” – Moscow Times

Oil Well file photo

The production cut will support oil prices and avoid a further ruble crash while the wider economic damage from coronavirus continues to build. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – April 13, 2020) The fresh OPEC+ deal struck between Russia and Saudi Arabia over the weekend will provide little support to the Russian economy, analysts believe. Instead, the deal […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Should Launch Cash Handouts and Quantitative Easing, Economists Argue” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The Russian government needs to spend up to $136 billion to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus, a group of liberal economists argues (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 14, 2020) The Russian government should dramatically accelerate its economic relief measures by launching a quantitative easing program and handing over large cash payments to Russian citizens, a group of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia has zero FDI in 1Q20; Russia’s FDI in 1Q20 was next to nothing, which means in reality it was probably negative” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“Russia received almost zero foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first quarter 2020, dropping from $10.3bn in the same period a year earlier to $200mn, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) reported …. This number almost certainly understates the real FDI, which was most likely negative. … a quirk of Russian national statistics means that foreign companies working and registered […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Long War Against American Science” – New York Times/ William J. Broad

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses. “… the pandemic has swept the globe … accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information – an ‘infodemic,’ according to the [WHO] …. Analysts say … Putin … has played a principal role […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Coronavirus Upends Putin’s Political Agenda in Russia” – AP

Kremlin and River

“… A nationwide vote on April 22 was supposed to finalize sweeping constitutional reforms that would allow [Putin] to stay in power until 2036 …. But after the coronavirus spread in Russia, that plebiscite had to be postponed – an action so abrupt that billboards promoting it already had been erected in Moscow and other big cities. Now under threat […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Plans $14 Billion Stimulus as Pressure Mounts for Spending” – Bloomberg/ Eugenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Putin’s government … [reportedly] will roll out about 1 trillion rubles ($13.5 billion) of new spending …. Some of the money will … subsidiz[e] salaries of workers idled by isolation measures to fight the coronavirus …. The stimulus will be funded by increased borrowing, not Russia’s $165 billion rainy-day fund …. The central bank estimated that a government order […]

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Russia Is Well-Positioned to Weather COVID-19’s Economic Fallout

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(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Chris Weafer – April 9, 2020) Chris Weafer is a founding partner of independent macro consultancy Macro-Advisory. Russia is in a relatively good position to survive the COVID-19 crisis and several months of low oil revenues. This is because of the changes it was forced to make to its monetary and fiscal management as a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘They need to quarantine Moscow’; How small businesses in Russia’s capital are scrambling to stay afloat as coronavirus clobbers the economy” – Meduza

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“… The news website RBC estimates that shutting down for a single day costs the average shopping and entertainment center in Moscow and the surrounding region roughly 60-155 million rubles (between $775,800 and $2 million). Fitness clubs … will lose as much as 300,000 rubles ($3,900) a day, while coffee shops in the city center will lose 100,000-200,000 rubles ($1,290-$2,585) […]

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Putin Makes Plea For Sanctions Relief At G20 Summit

File Photo of Assorted U.S. Cash, adapted from image at tsa.gov

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 26, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/30511615.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed at a Group of 20 (G20) video conference that a freeze be placed on economic sanctions to allow countries to better combat the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 500,000 worldwide […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Situation thus far not developing in best way, Russia to see budget deficit in 2020 – Siluanov” – Interfax

Anton Siluanov file photo

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Russian government is diverting from its macroeconomic forecast for 2020: the budget will see a deficit and National Wealth Fund (NWF) resources will need to be used, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said while speaking at the annual meeting of the Federal Treasury board. Opening the board meeting, Siluanov remarked on the fact that it […]

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Ruble, Oil Prices Tumble Amid Market Chaos After OPEC-Russia Deal Collapses

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(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 9, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ruble-oil-prices-tumble-after-opec-deal-collapses-amid-coronavirus-fears/30476938.html) The Russian ruble fell to a four-year low after oil prices collapsed following a breakup of talks between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Moscow. The ruble tumbled on March 9 by more than 7 percent to nearly 74 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “OECD Slashes Russia Growth Forecast in Stark Coronavirus Warning” – Moscow Times

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Even if the spread slows, the economic effects of coronavirus will last throughout 2020, new report says. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 2, 2020) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has drastically cut its forecast for the Russian economy in a bleak report warning of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The OECD now expects Russia’s annual […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Falling oil prices threaten to derail Putin’s spending promises” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, Henry Foy, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

Oil Wells File Photo

Kremlin’s bid to boost economy relies on Russian budget surplus and national wealth fund “… Putin’s spending promises are under threat from falling oil prices that could hurt the savings the Kremlin is tapping to rekindle growth. The coronavirus outbreak … pushed Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, down 10 per cent to a year-low … close to $50 a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kudrin doubts 1.9% economic growth forecast due to coronavirus” – Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) – Alexei Kudrin, the chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber, said he was doubtful about the government’s 1.9% economic growth forecast and that adverse factors like the coronavirus needed to be taken into account. “The measures in fulfillment of the [president’s] address will produce an additional effect on economic growth. Right now I hesitate to say […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian economy growing stably but is vulnerable – Klepach” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Russia’s economy is growing stably but is very vulnerable, according to VEB.RF head economist Andrei Klepach. “The problem isn’t that we don’t have stable growth, we do, though it’s very vulnerable. If there’s a global recession, that will inevitably have an effect on [Russia’s] economic growth. The problem is that this growth, even if it’s […]

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Economics Rather than Politics Reason So Many Young Russians Want to Move Abroad, Volkov Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, Nov. 29, 2019) Because until relatively recently Russians could not move abroad freely, the issue of emigration remains very “politicized,” Denis Volkov says, with supporters of the regime calling those who want to leave or do traitors and opponents saying that emigration can be blamed on “the bloody Putin regime.” But while […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State-Run Bank Says Putin Will Fail to Meet Economic Targets by 2024; Russia will fall short of most of the goals outlined in the president’s $400 billion National Projects program” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Nov. 20, 2019) Jake covers business & economics for The Moscow Times. President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to meet most of his flagship economic and development goals during his final term, a new report from a government-owned bank said Wednesday. The National Projects program – a $400 billion package of investments covering […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What’s Next for Russia’s Economy? Analysts predict low growth, low inflation and a strong stock market in the final two months of the year” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – November 1, 2019) Jake Cordell covers business & economics for The Moscow Times. A fresh roster of forecasts and data on the Russian economy suggests slow growth and low inflation coupled with robust corporate performance will mark the final two months of the year. Meanwhile, economy-watchers remain fixed on a crucial Central […]

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