ASSESSMENTS

Beyond the Recession, More Problems Await Russia

MIN READJun 1, 2017 | 09:30 GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin might be leading his country out of a punishing recession, but his hold on power has suffered as a result.

(ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's economy is recovering, slowly but surely. But that doesn't mean its troubles are behind it. Relative to its last convalescence after the 2009 recession, which was deeper, the Russian economy's current recovery is far less robust, in large part because of lackluster oil prices. (The country loses $2 billion in revenue for every dollar oil prices drop.) The government's official numbers, moreover, must be taken with a grain of salt since the Kremlin has been tinkering with its statistics. The state statistical unit, Rosstat, changed its methodology recently to amplify the effect of the military-industrial complex as the Kremlin embarked on an arms purchasing spree. Then in March, President Vladimir Putin moved Rosstat, once largely shielded from politics, under the economy minister's authority. The head of the statistics agency claims that a government official asked him to tweak the data on the economy to give the appearance that inflation...

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