Introduction – March 15, 2019
I’m not an economist or an expert on financial affairs but the following report confirms the impression I had when I last visited Moscow in May 2018.
At the time I was struck by the feeling that Russia’s economy seemed solid. Despite years of Western sanctions the economy appeared unaffected. Indeed certain sectors even seemed to be thriving.
I’m talking as a layman here but since I first visited Moscow in 2003 I have seen an incremental improvement in the quality of life in Russia’s capital. I don’t know about the rest of the country but Moscow’s supermarkets seem better stocked, there are a wider variety of goods on offer and they are of a better quality too.
For example during my first visit the only beers on offer in supermarkets were locally brewed versions of international brews, substandard Budweiser and the like. By 2018 there was a wider variety of locally brewed Russian beers available, many of them surprisingly good.
I know because I tried them and they were on par with the best German or Czech beers. The same applied to many other consumer goods, from beer and cheese, to computers and even jeans; all domestically produced and all on par with their Western-produced counterparts.
This steady improvement wasn’t confined to consumer goods either. The infrastructure seemed better maintained; the services on offer were also more efficiently delivered.
Likewise, on my first visit I saw hookers working the streets of central St. Petersburg. I’m sure there are still many hookers in Russia; you just don’t see them on the streets anymore.
Of course, there is far more to gauging a country’s well being than its economic performance. There are also less quantifiable factors; such as its people and their collective character. This is what really makes a nation – not just its economy, which is really for the accountants – a nation’s people and their leader; who in this case happens to be Vladimir Putin.
I’m under no illusions about the man and I’m sure he has his faults. However, unlike Merkel or Macron, who previously worked for the Rothschilds, Putin is not a stooge for the bankers. He wants the best for Russia and its people.
Unlike Trump he’s also come up the hard way, through the ranks of KGB and then as an administrator in St Petersburg, before becoming an aide for President Yeltsin.
With Yeltsin’s resignation at the end of 1999, Putin took over as Acting President of the Russian Federation. Thereafter during his first term of office he saw off numerous attempts to oust him by the Western-backed oligarchs before he began pulling Russia back from the dire straits it was in.
I saw vestiges of the old Soviet Union and the Yeltsin years when I first visited in 2003. I saw it in the hookers on the streets and beggars, together with a few ultra-rich oligarchs being chauffer driven through Moscow in Rolls and Range Rovers; I also saw it in the massive dilapidated infrastructure and inefficient services.
Most of that has all gone now, thanks largely to Putin. Sure there are still beggars on the streets but unlike many in the UK, they are not ‘professional beggars’. Instead they struck me as genuinely in need and as a result many people were giving them small amounts of loose change. It’s called “Christian charity” and in Russia it still actually means something.
So I’ll make a prediction, despite what the Western media may say Russia is very much on the ascendant. Sure it hasn’t been making the meteoric economic advances we’ve seen in China or India in recent years. Instead, it has been slow and steady improvements; in essence Russia has been laying solid foundations for further growth.
This will continue and I believe that within a generation or two Russia will be the foremost power on the planet. Eclipsing not only America but China and India too.
Keep your eye on Vladimir Putin. He has turned Russia around and I confidently predict that this will continue, even as the U.S. and Western Europe sink further into debt and social decline. Ed.
Russia to Overtake Germany as World’s Fifth-Largest Economy
Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge Jan 17, 2019
The Russian economy is apparently more durable than many Western politicians imagined.
Despite years of international sanctions and low oil prices have dragged on Russia’s economy, which pushed the Russian economy into a recession during 2015, UK-based global bank Standard Chartered predicted in a report published this week that Russia will overtake Germany as the world’s fifth largest economy, possibly as early as next year, according to RT.
In a report outlining its projections for the global economy through 2030, StanChart projected that China would overtake the US a the world’s largest economy as explosive growth in Asia will eventually see some of the Continent’s largest economies unseat Western economies in the top rankings. By 2030, the bank expects seven of the world’s ten largest economies will be Asian economies.
Using a combination of PPP-inflected exchange rates and nominal GDP growth, the bank ranked the top five economies as China, the US, India, Japan, and Russia. Rounding out the top 10 countries will include Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, and the UK.
“By 2020, a majority of the world population will be classified as middle class. Asia will lead the increase in middle-class populations even as middle classes stagnate in the West,” said Standard Chartered researcher Madhur Jha.
StanChart aren’t the only ones who are optimistic about Russia’s prospects. The World Bank said in its economic outlook that it expects GDP growth in Russia to accelerate to 1.8% in 2020 and 2021, compared with 1.6% last year. It attributed this growth largely to “relatively low and stable inflation and increased oil production.” The IMF has also raised its forecast for Russia’s GDP growth in 2019 to 1.8%, with the fund anticipating that the impact of rising oil prices would outweigh the impact of sanctions.
Though when it comes to Russia’s overtaking of Germany, a slowing in the economic growth engine of Europe is also partly to blame. Germany slowed sharply in 2018, growing by 1.5%, its slowest rate since 2013.
And data released during the fourth quarter raised fears that Germany may have experienced a second straight quarterly contraction in Q4, raising anxieties about a possible recession.
But with the Russian economy ascendant again despite looming threats of more sanctions tied to the attack on former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal, one can’t help but wonder whether the media will point out that the economic rival is also Putin’s fault.