The global coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s recent oil war with Saudi Arabia has brought a financial crisis to the country. With oil prices below $25 per barrel and a 33 percent reduction in economic activity since Russia’s lockdowns began, Russia’s economy is facing dangerous new challenges. On May 11, President Vladimir Putin declared that the “non-working” period would come to a close on May 12. How has the crisis affected ordinary Russians, has the Kremlin’s economic policy response been appropriate, and how will Russia’s economy recover?
Dr. Sergey Aleksashenko, former deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia; Dr. Sergei Guriev, professor of Economics at Sciences Po’s Department of Economics; Vladimir Milov, Russian opposition politician and an economic adviser to the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny; and Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, discuss the impact of coronavirus and plummeting oil prices on Russia’s economy. Dr. Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, will moderate the discussion.
The Kremlin and coronavirus
Despite recording some of the first cases outside of China in early 2020, Russia reported unusually low incidents of coronavirus while those in other regions climbed rapidly. However, in recent days the number of cases in the country has grown rapidly, leading to questions of honesty about initial government reports as well as how equipped Russia’s government and health systems are prepared to deal with a major outbreak. This is in addition to the Kremlin’s exploitation of the virus to spread disinformation, burnish its image abroad, and enlarge political control at home.
Long Take May 27, 2020
The Russian economy in health, oil, and economic crisis
Russia’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic and the ensuing economic crisis does not impress. Arguably, it has hardly been worse than the average EU response—except for the Central European countries, where the pandemic arrived late and who protected themselves much better. The Russian authorities’ attempts to deny and conceal the epidemic have undermined popular trust in Putin, which is lower than ever. Nor have the authorities shown any sign of restart long dormant reforms.
New Atlanticist Mar 27, 2020
Russia orders tech platforms to remove coronavirus “fake news”
By Justin Sherman
The Russian government has been actively engaged in spreading disinformation and misinformation around the pandemic. The Kremlin has also been active in ordering internet platforms operating in the country to remove coronavirus “fake news” from their platforms, which follows previous Kremlin efforts to crack down on independent internet sites offering legitimate news.
The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.