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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Sure, Help The Homeless, These Moscow Residents Say, But Don’t Do It In Our Neighborhood

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Anastasia Kuzina, Robert Coalson – MOSCOW – Oct. 27, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-homeless-moscow-neighborhood-not-in-my-backyard/30238628.html) “If you want to do good deeds, do them – but don’t make those around you uncomfortable,” said Kira Gorchakova, a resident of Moscow’s Begovoi district when asked about a shelter […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Rises in World Bank’s Business Rating” – Moscow Times

World Bank Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 24, 2019) Russia has inched upward in the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report, rising three places but still missing President Vladimir Putin’s goal of breaking into the top 20. Putin set the challenge of leaping up the ease-of-business ratings by 2018 after the country placed a dismal 120th in 2011. The 2020 Doing […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Experts Raise Questions Over Strong Russian Official Economic Statistics; Analysts struggle to explain an unexpected jump in real incomes and GDP recorded by the official Russian statistics agency” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – October 18, 2019) Economists have raised questions over a surprisingly healthy batch of economic data released by the Russian statistics agency Rosstat. Statistics published Thursday evening showed an unexpected and significant jump in real disposable incomes of an annual rate of 3% in the third quarter of the year, off the back […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Going Nowhere in Global Competitiveness Rankings” – Moscow Times

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Russia stays mid-table in rankings of the world’s most competitive economies, while Singapore leapfrogs United States into top spot (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 9, 2019) Russia has failed to climb up the global competitiveness rankings, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said today, remaining in 43rd place in its influential Global Competitiveness Index. Researchers said Russia scored highly on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “World Bank Cuts Russian Growth Forecast” – Moscow Times

World Bank Building

Economy expected to expand by just 1% in 2019 amid weak investment, low consumer confidence and international sanctions (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oct. 9, 2019) The World Bank has become the latest organization to cut its outlook for the Russian economy, predicting growth of just 1% in 2019. A host of domestic and international factors are holding back the […]

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Russian Middle Class Now ‘More Dead than Alive,’ New Research Shows

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 5, 2019) “The middle class in Russia is more dead than alive,” Fustem Falyakhov reports in Gazeta on the basis of new research carried out by Alina Pishnyak of the Center for the Analysis of Incomes and Standard of Living of the Higher School of Economics (gazeta.ru/business/2019/10/04/12737647.shtml). Her research shows that […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Displays a Two-Track Economy; The Russian economy is both growing and declining, depending on whether you look at domestic or global statistics” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – October 3, 2019) Jake Cordell covers business & economics for The Moscow Times Fresh economic data released this week told a tale of two Russian economies – resilient yet fragile, growing and contracting, confident while insecure. On the home front, the country’s economy appears to be trundling along with modest success. But […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian consumer confidence continues to improve in Q3 – Rosstat” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) – Russian consumer confidence improved for the third straight quarter in Q3 2019, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose 2 percentage points to negative (-) 13% in Q3 2019 from -15% in Q2 and -16% in Q1. The CCI fell from -8% in Q2 1018 to -14% in Q3 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s ‘Core’ Middle Class Shrinks to 10M – HSE” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oct. 4, 2019) Only 10.3 million people in Russia can be fully considered as members of the middle class, according to Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE). Real wages have been declining for five years in a row, fueled by Western sanctions and low oil prices. State-run media analysis of official data placed Russia’s middle-class […]

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Staff At Russia’s Main Cancer Center Quit En Masse, Citing Low Wages And Dire Conditions

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – MOSCOW, Oct. 1, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/staff-at-russia-s-main-cancer-center-quit-en-masse-citing-low-wages-and-dire-conditions/30193826.html) Russia’s main cancer treatment center has been rocked by a wave of resignations amid complaints about low wages and deteriorating conditions at its wards, in the latest indication of what medical professionals say is […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Economic growth not an end in itself, vital to boost incomes – Putin” – Interfax

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – Public- and social-sector wages, to which the May presidential decree does not apply, will be indexed by 4.3% on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Cabinet ministers. The main topic of the meeting was additional measures to speed up economic growth and raising household incomes. “Economic growth itself is not […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Guns, Butter, and Russia’s Enduring Power” – Kennan Institute/ Maxim Trudolyubov

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(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – September 20, 2019) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. In response to sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia, the Kremlin has built up a budget with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Why Is Russia So Unproductive? Analysts say a toxic cocktail of state capitalism, corruption and low investment curbs output” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – September 23, 2019) During his annual phone-in with the public in June this year, President Vladimir Putin described low productivity as “one of the most acute and important” problems facing Russia. Economists agree. Russia is one of the least productive moderately rich countries in the world, ranking 39th out of the 42 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin the Great; Russia’s Imperial Impostor” – Foreign Affairs/ Susan B. Glasser

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

“… Putin did not want to be compared with … Brezhnev … [who] ruled the Soviet Union … 1964 to 1982 … leader of Putin’s gritty youth … the long stagnation that preceded the empire’s collapse. By the end … butt of a million jokes … doddering grandfather of a doddering state ….  ‘Stalin proved that just one person could […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Relentless rise of consumer debt in Russia fuels bubble fears for some” – Reuters/ Darya Korsunskaya, Elena Fabrichnaya, Tatiana Voronova

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

“… After five years of shrinking real incomes, many Russians are borrowing to make ends meet or even just to pay off their creditors – and the issue is climbing up the political agenda. … Some 2.5 million people earning up to 20,000 roubles ($303.09) a month … less than half the average wage, spend more than half of that […]

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Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s GDP Less Severe Than Low Oil Prices – IMF

Oil Well file photo

The fall in oil prices cost the country on average $48.75 billion in lost economic growth per year. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 6, 2019) Sanctions have had a less severe impact on Russia’s GDP growth than low oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest report on the country. Between 2014 and 2018, sanctions slowed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians feel the pain of Vladimir Putin’s regime; The police’s violent response to protesters’ demands in Moscow has intensified anger over a flatlining economy” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy, Max Seddon

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“… Not since 2012, when thousands of Muscovites took to the streets to protest against … Putin’s return to the presidency, has Russia’s capital seen such a brutal crackdown on demonstrations …. Police trucks packed with young Russians and rows of baton-wielding troops have shown the brute force available to …Putin and his willingness to use it. But the continued […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Best Way to Deal With Russia: Wait for It to Implode” – Politico/ Peter Eltsov

Russia Regions Map

“… Putin has moved to annex former Soviet territories, orchestrated cyberattacks on foreign infrastructure and rolled back domestic democratic protections …. [I]n reality, Russia today is much weaker than either the Romanov Empire, which lasted from 1613 to 1917, or the Soviet Union. Russia’s biggest problem is internal: … fail[ing] to produce a national identity … encompass[ing] its entire population. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Media Muffle Protest Images, Broadcast Beef Kebabs; President Putin is trying to stop demonstrations without stoking further discontent over a poor economy, a pension revamp and endemic corruption” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Satellite Dishes

“As Russian riot police violently suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations across Moscow, detaining around 1,000 people … pro-Kremlin state news channels featured a different top news item: a city-sponsored barbecue festival on the leafy banks of the Moscow River. Russian state media’s studious dismissal of the nascent protest movement has helped the Kremlin keep its attempts to quash the protests off-screen, avoiding […]

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For Russian Economy, August Not April is the Cruelest Month

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 3, 2019) August has begun with yet another decline in the value of the ruble, continuing the trend this summer month set in 1998 with default and continued last year with a decline of eight percent in the ruble’s exchange rate against Western currencies. And the rest of this month this […]

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RUSSIALINK: “1 in 4 Russians Are Seeing Their Wallets Shrink – Poll” – Moscow Times

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2019) Almost a quarter of Russians say they have felt their finances dwindle in recent months, according to a survey by the state-run Foundation of Public Opinion (FOM) pollster. Real incomes have declined in the past five years in Russia against the backdrop of Western sanctions and falling oil prices. As he took […]

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Russians Living on Loans Face Credit Crunch This Fall, Financial Analyst Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 28, 2019) The economic situation of the large number of Russians who have sought to maintain their earlier standard of living by taking out loans is about to get much worse, financial analyst Igor Nikolayev says, because in the coming months, the government plans to make it more difficult for them […]

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Russians Finally Finding Out Just How Poorly Paid They Are, Shelin Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 24, 2019) Russians have long been accustomed to hearing that the average wage in Russia is 47,700 rubles (800 US dollars) a month, Sergey Shelin says; but now they are learning that the median wage – the one where half receive more and half less – is only 34,300 rubles (560 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “21M Russians Live in Poverty, Official Data Says” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 29, 2019) The number of Russians living below the poverty line has grown by half a million since early 2018, according to official data. Western sanctions and falling oil prices over the past five years have led to a decline in real incomes and a rise in consumer prices. President Vladimir Putin is pursuing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “IMF Cuts Forecast for Russian 2019 GDP Growth to 1.2%, Calls for Reforms” – Reuters

File Photo of IMF Acronym on Wall Below Row of Circular Lights, adapted from image at state.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for Russian economic growth in 2019 to 1.2% from 1.4% after a weak first quarter, saying broader reforms would be needed for stronger growth. Without deeper structural reforms, long-term growth is projected to settle around 1.8%, the IMF said …. Priority should be given to creating a more vibrant private sector and reducing […]

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Economic Decline Won’t Spark a Revolution and Kremlin Sees No Need for Change, Inozemtsev Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2019) Many suggest that the continuing economic decline of Russia will prompt people to go into the streets and demand change, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; but “nowhere on post-Soviet space have we see mass protests arise as a result of economic issues.” The Russian people will come to terms with their […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Middle Class Is Shrinking – Bank Report” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 25, 2019) Russia’s middle class has fallen by nearly one-fifth since the start of the country’s economic crisis in 2014, an analysis by the Moscow-based Alfa Bank has said. Low oil prices and Western sanctions have reduced Russians’ real incomes for five years in a row. Economists forecast that the population’s purchasing power will […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s 2019 ‘Direct Line,’ in a nutshell; Russia’s president spoke on national TV for four hours, but you can read this summary in five minutes” – Meduza/ Summary by Mikhail Zelensky, Translation by Kevin Rothrock

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

“National projects: The country needs to revitalize the economy, but first we need to figure out where to find the money for this development work. That’s why we raised the VAT [value added tax), and as expected it increased inflation, but only temporarily. The cabinet ministers are personally responsible for seeing their work through. Income and wages …. Healthcare …. […]

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Putin’s Annual Marathon Phone-In Will Focus His Attention Homeward; Protests, pensions and poverty will overshadow geopolitics during Putin’s annual live call-in show Thursday.

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pjotr Sauer – June 19, 2019) Civil unrest and falling living standards are likely to dominate Vladimir Putin’s annual televised national phone-in on Thursday, depriving the Russian president of the opportunity to concentrate on foreign policy and forcing him to confront domestic problems. In the past few months, Russia has seen mass protests over the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin touts Russia as a great power. But he’s made it a weak one.” – Washington Post/ Timothy Frye

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

“… Moscow is playing an assertive role [globally] … despite … weakness. … If anyone has made Russia’s hand weak, it’s [Putin, in power for two decades with a] … failure to create a more dynamic economy …. Thanks to high energy prices and fiscal caution … [there are] large reserve funds, but the economy has stagnated …. in 2012, […]

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Russia’s National Projects: Economic Reboot or Mucky Bog?

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(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Ben Aris – May 30, 2019) Ben Aris is editor in chief of bne Intellinews. He has been covering Russia as a journalist since 1993. While Moscow has been aggressively advancing its interests on the international stage, Russia’s stagnating economy means the country risks gradually falling behind the rest of the world and possibly facing […]

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Nearly Half Of Russian Families Can Afford Only Food, Clothing

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(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – May 29, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/nearly-half-of-russian-families-can-afford-only-food-clothing/29970069.html) Nearly half of all Russian families say that they only have enough money for food and clothing and cannot buy items of longer-term use such as furniture and appliances, media reports cite data from the state statistics agency […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Economists Forecast 6th Year of Falling Incomes for Russians” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 29, 2019) Russians’ incomes will fall for a sixth consecutive year in 2019, experts from Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Russia’s Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) said. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry has projected real incomes to reverse the five-year slump and grow by 1 percent in 2019, based on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Gives Putin Reasons Not to Extend OPEC+ Deal” – Bloomberg/ Olga Tanas

Oil Well file photo

“The OPEC+ pact is hurting the Russian economy, potentially giving … Putin a reason not to agree on an extension …. While higher crude prices can bring … additional revenue, production cuts are weighing on one of the country’s biggest industries. … [Putin] may have to weigh his desire for faster economic growth against the benefits of his alliance with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Direct Investment Into Russia Is Falling; Russia is at the bottom of the Institute of International Finance’s list of emerging markets.” – Moscow Times

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 22, 2019) Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Russia accounted for only 0.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2015-2018, putting it at the bottom of the list of emerging markets, the RBC news website reported, citing the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The IIF figures exclude reinvested earnings to focus on “real” GDP. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s GDP growth slows in 1Q19, challenging the policy framework” – bne Intellinews/ Dmitri Dolgin (Russia ING)

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“Russian GDP growth slowed from 2.7% year on year in 4Q18 to just 0.5% y/y in 1Q19, well below expectations. Unlike most commentators, we attribute this slowdown to a pause in the state CAPEX rather than to the VAT hike. We also believe a policy response is more likely to come from the Finance Ministry rather than the Central Bank […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Banking on Politics: How Russia’s Banking Sector Clean-Up Affects Regime Stability” – PONARS Eurasia/ David Szakonyi

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“Banking has increasingly become nationalized in Russia, raising concerns that all private banks may be forced from the market within 10 or 15 years. In the short run, this consolidation enables the government to continue funding its numerous and expensive commitments and thereby maintain social and political stability. David Szakonyi discusses the political consequences of this creeping nationalization of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia; Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options” – RAND

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

“This brief summarizes a report that comprehensively examines nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue across economic, political, and military areas to stress – overextend and unbalance – Russia’s economy and armed forces and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can Russia halve its poverty level?” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris in Berlin

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“… Among … ambitious … – some say unattainable [-] goals [Putin] called for a drastic reduction in poverty between now and 2024, when he is slated to step down …. Can Russia really halve its poverty rate to 6.6% in six years[?] … [F]ast [economic] growth is unlikely. Even the government’s own estimate predicts lacklustre growth of about 1.3% […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the US could push Russia’s defense spending to the brink” – Stars and Stripes/ William Howard

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

“The United States should … drive Russia to spend money in a tit-for-tat power game that its smaller economy can’t support [a RAND study] said …. The West can exploit factors … making Russia more vulnerable, such as economic sanctions, fuel prices falling below peak levels, an aging population and increasing authoritarianism under … Putin … [but the study] also […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia is no place for young people” – Deutsche Welle

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

It’s almost impossible to find a decent salary and comfortable living conditions in Russia. For many young people, the only options are to build a life in Moscow or leave the country, says Anastasia Arinushkina. “… half of Russia’s citizens are unhappy with the size of their salaries and struggle to pay for health care and education, according to recent […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Richest 3% Russians Hold 90% of Country’s Financial Assets – Study” – Moscow Times

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 12, 2019) The wealthiest 3 percent of Russians owned 89 percent of all financial assets in 2018, according to joint research by the Higher School of Economics and the state-run VEB Bank. This is the first time a comprehensive study of wealth inequality has been attempted in Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “All About the U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Putin’s Russia” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer, Laurence Arnold, Olga Tanas, Tony Halpin

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

“… Since 2014, the U.S. has imposed travel bans, asset freezes and finance and trade restrictions against hundreds of Russian individuals and companies … a multinational effort …. 1. What U.S. sanctions are in place against Russia? More than 700 Russian people and companies have been targeted …. 2. Why were the sanctions imposed? … starting in 2014 after Russia […]

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