World Press Review on Russia's economic solutions, food deficit and foreign asylum for dissidents (April 2, 2015).
The Bloomberg View published an article of recent developments in Russia's economic course titled 'Russia Frees Itself From Oil's Curse'. The author informs that “signs are multiplying that the Russian economy will not die a painful death. The country posted unexpected growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, and it can now look beyond oil for drivers of recovery. Today, the Federal Statistics Service said the Russian economy expanded 0.4 percent in the final three months of last year, while economists expected zero growth”. The journalist continues with the following data: “That year, Russia defaulted on its domestic debt, sharply devalued the ruble and introduced capital controls. Gross domestic product dropped 5.3 percent. The following year, it rebounded by 6.4 percent. Russia is a country with a large domestic market that has just seen a sharp decline in imports. Last time that happened, in the late 1990s, corporate Russia, still young and inexperienced, rose to the challenge. The article concludes with an optimistic view “today, economic conditions inside Russia are just as oppressive as they were then, but entrepreneurs are more experienced and have more resources: The hundreds of billions of dollars that capital flight has taken out of Russia can be reinvested”. Today, the real effective exchange rate again corresponds to the relative labor productivity in Russia, according to the author. The growth is expected, but a less rapid one than in 1999, as oil prices remain low. According to the author, in 2016 growth will not exceed 3.5%.
Newsweek published material on the current situation with the prices on food in Russia titled “Will Sky High Food Prices Spell the End for Putin?” The author argues that Russian citizens realize that “the current crisis has been partly driven by the government’s policies, partly by global factors beyond its control. Yet predictions that milk and bread lines will be the end of Vladimir Putin remain premature. Russians do not have many ways to hold the government accountable, and a vocal number of them are willing to accept the situation as it is because “it could be worse.” According to the author, “consumers seem eager to stand by their leaders and buy what is available on the shelves, only raising their voices occasionally in protest over lowered living standards.” Referring to anti-crisis measures introduced by the Russian government, the author concludes that “so long as the Kremlin can balance enough of this grumbling with results that benefit a few segments of society, Putin remains “safe.” As long as enough people continue to make enough money to support themselves, Putin is unlikely to face either a palace revolt or mass demonstrations on the streets.”
'UK grants asylum to Russian dissident', an article in the Financial Times reads. The article informs that the United Kingdom has granted asylum to the Russian dissident, the executive director for the fight against corruption Vladimir Ashurkov. The decision on a similar request for his common-law wife Alexandrina Markvo is still pending. Both Ashurkov and Markvo are suspected by Russian police of fraud. In 2012, when the activities of Ashurkov began to take on a clear political character, the shareholders of "Alfa Group", where he worked as a director for management and control of the assets of CTF Holdings Ltd, asked him to leave his post. In March 2014 Ashurkov became concerned about his own safety. After Alexei Navalny was placed under house arrest and the apartment of Ashurkov was searched, in his words "I decided that it would be wiser to spend some time outside the country," the article reads.