Still Too Many Banks in Russia, Fitch Agency Says

Russian news agency Rosbalt quotes the Director of the Financial Institutions Analyst Department with Fitch Dmitry Vasilyev who stated that the number of banks in Russia remains too high even after the Central Bank’s recent cleanup. The number of banks was reduced from over 1,000 to approximately 600 within the last couple of years, Vasilyev…

Personal Income in Russia Drops by 5.7% in Real Terms

Relying on the Russian Statistical Bureau’s data, Russian daily Gazeta.ru reports that personal income in Russia dropped by 5.7% in the year to May 2016. Average monthly salary in May was 36 570 rubles (USD 570), or 6.2% higher than a year ago. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin recently stated that real income in Moscow discontinued…

Russia increases its military spending, but the reasons are internal

In an essay for Slon.ru, former State Duma Representative Aleksei Mikhailov writes about sharply rising military spending foreseen by the Russian 2015 budget. According to the proposed budget for the next year, Russia’s defense spending should reach 4.2 percent of the GDP, a sharp increase from 3.4 percent of the GDP in 2014 and only 1.5…

Russian economist Sergei Guriev: I just want to avoid risking loss of freedom

In his recent interview to radio-station Echo Moskvy, renowned Russian economist Sergei Guriev, known as the Rector of the Moscow’s New Economic School (www.nes.ru), explained his reasons for leaving the country after the Russian Investigative Committee launched an investigation that might lead to a third indictment of a Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Guriev was a…

JP Morgan joins Goldman Sachs in teaching Russia how to be a fair lady

Today’s edition of business daily Vedomosti.ru reports that investment bank JP Morgan is about to take on the role of adviser to the Russian Ministry of Finance on how to improve the country’s credit rating. Russia’s current credit ratings are Baa1 according to Moody’s, and BBB according to Fitch and S&P. The Ministry’s financial management…

The matter of trust in Russia

Russian business daily Vedomosti.ru published findings from the „Eurobarometer in Russia“ report prepared by The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (http://ranepa.com/), as well as the World Values Survey association (http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/) study on the level of interpersonal trust in Russia. According to the reports, this indicator is on average 1.5-2 times lower than…

Small business in Russia – who is to blame and what is to be done

Russian weekly magazine „Russian Reporter“ published an interview with the Head of the Supervisory Board for the Russian entrepreneurs’ association „Russian Foundation“ (http://en.opora.ru/) Sergei Borisov, who contrasted the Russian Government’s imprudent measures with its desire to put Russia among the top 20 countries for doing business. The debate regarding the Government’s attitude towards small and…

Russian entrepreneurship in dire straits

Russian business daily Vedomosti.ru published an editorial on the unwillingness of Russian citizens to open their own businesses. The editorial was motivated by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for 2012, which indicated that a mere 2.2 percent of the Russian adult population plans to open a new business. This is the lowest percentage among all…

Who benefits from the Great Game in Central Asia

Russian daily Gazeta.ru published an op-ed by Vladimir Milov, president of the Russian political party „Democratic Choice“, in which he criticizes the Russian government’s liberal policy towards immigration from Central Asia. According to Milov, regardless of individual politicians calling for the introduction of a visa regime between Russia and the Central Asian countries, the Russian…

Russian Government’s foreign debt reduced to USD 49.8 billion

Relying on the data from the Russian Ministry of Finance, business daily RBK reported that the Russian Government’s foreign debt decreased by 1.9 percent since the beginning of 2013, to USD 49.8 billion. Government debt owed under the euro-denominated bonds was reduced by 1.8 percent, to USD 34.27 billion, while indebtedness to the international financial institutions…

Russian officials continue to worry about the economic performance in 2013

Russian business daily Vedomosti.ru reports on rising concerns regarding the performance of the Russian economy in 2013. As the Russian Minister of Economic Development Andrey Belousov stated, „We’re not in recession yet, but we might get there. Such a risk exists. …I believe [it might happen] by autumn.“ The Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrey…