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Russia in the global financial storm
Will late 2008-early 2009 in Russia be a winter of discontent? Reading Russian media may give one the distinct feeling of a very serious crisis, with important social and political ramifications.
There is, no doubt, a season of hardship looming ahead for Russia. However, the situation looks much better than in 1998, which is the country’s most important reference point for a crisis. The worst forecast so far published, as usual the International Monetary Fund’s, predicts a 3% growth rate in the Russian economy for 2009. This is much lower than that experienced in 2007 and 2008. Still, there are plenty of governments in advanced economies, from Paris to Washington, that would dream of such a growth rate.
The global financial crisis has hit the Russian economy in two different ways: one real and one psychological. It is quite easy to assess the first aspect because it is grounded in objective and well-known factors. The second aspect is much harder to assess because collective psychology is not an exact science.
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