Anatoly Aksakov: "Russia still relies on commodities in its economic model"

Anatoly Aksakov: "Russia still relies on commodities in its economic model"

Vestnik Kavkaza prepared a series of interviews with leading Russian economists and politicians, working in economic sector. The Russian State Duma deputy from "A Just Russia" party, chairman of the State Duma Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, discussed prospects of development of Russian economy prior to introduction of two packages of the US sanctions.

- How will promised sanctions, including freezing of US assets of our banks, ban on operations with our national debt and closure of American sky for Aeroflot affect our financial system and the economy?

- Let's start with Aeroflot. There are around three flights a day to the US. For comparison, there are at least 20 flights a day to Crimea. For the past 3-4 years Aeroflot is often recognized as one of the best companies in Eastern Europe, its credibility is very high, and, obviously, the US decision won't affect this credibility. Of course, inability to transport people to New York, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles will be unpleasant, but it won't have significant impact on its revenues.

As for our national debt, there's a budget surplus in Russia, and all revenue from oil above $40 per barrel goes to reserve funds, so there's enough money. In such conditions, there's no point in building up national debt, moreover, it can be reduced. In this sense, only American investors will suffer from this decision, because our bonds have high profitability by international standards and are profitable for buyers. Actually, Americans make up a large part of foreign investors in Russia's national debt.

Other measures will be unpleasant, of course, but they will harm the US more. These measures will make state-owned banks more interested in working on moving our export trade to rubles even faster, which will increase credibility of the Russian national currency. Perhaps strategically it's these events are for the better. During the second quarter Russia's economic growth reached almost 2%, which means that despite hostile actions of our Western partners, our economy continues to get better. I expect that our economy will reach pre-crisis levels of growth if there will be great economic policy and more active import substitution, including from the point of view of financial resources involved. We're used to planning reserves through investments in the US bonds, but at least some of them should be spent on economic development.

- In other words, Russian economy managed to deal with the crisis despite sanctions?

- Yes, there's no doubt. Growth of consumer demand is the biggest sign of that.

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