President Vladimir V. Putin grew wildly popular by making Russians richer every year and by vowing to restore their country’s great power status. But now, with the government predicting Tuesday that the battered economy will fall into recession next year, that formula is in jeopardy.
Every day brings a barrage of woeful economic news. World oil prices just hit a five-year low. The Russian ruble is down 40 percent against the dollar so far in 2014. Inflation is due to rise 9 percent this year and to continue climbing. Capital flight is expected to reach $128 billion. […]
Mr. Putin has already shelved planned megaprojects, like the South Stream pipeline to ship gas to southern Europe, which was canceled on Monday, and a high-speed railway from Moscow to Kazan, a city east of the capital.
De westerse sancties komen hard aan:
Financial experts say Russia’s most pressing problem is not the sinking ruble, despite its potential to prompt a run on the banks, nor the falling price of oil, though the annual budget was based on a price of $96 per barrel, which is now hovering around $70.
“This is all peanuts compared to the financing crisis,” said Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister turned opposition politician.
Nearly $700 billion is owed to Western banks, economists said, much of it by the giant state-run companies that constitute the heart of the Russian economy. But sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and adventurism in southeastern Ukraine have blocked access to Western financing.
Despite Moscow’s plans to turn East as an alternative, China’s banks just do not have the capacity. Instead, the debt threatens to drain the Kremlin of its $400 billion in foreign currency reserves.
Dankzij Russische tegenmaatregelen – het stopzetten van Europese voedselimporten – worden Russen bovendien steeds vaker geconfronteerd met lege schappen in de winkels.
Het smokkelen van voedsel uit Europa begint zodoende lucratief te worden. Maar het gaat niet altijd goed. De afgelopen vier maanden confisqueerden de Russische autoriteiten maar liefst 1000 ton westers voedsel.