Saturday, December 20, 2014

Long Read on Russian Economy

Via Marginal Revolution, The Guardian has an excellent long read on the state of the Russian economy in a time of falling oil prices:

You know that the reporters did their research in depth because of details like this:

Inflation is hitting all areas of society. Brothels in the Arctic port of Murmansk have hiked their prices by 30-40%, and may in future even peg their services to the dollar.

Public sector employees account for more than 25% of Russia’s workforce, and are Putin’s core electorate. When the Russian president returned to the office in 2012, he promised hefty pay increases for public sector workers (in some cases doubling salaries). The government is now attempting to back peddle and bring these increases in line with inflation.

Despite a relatively austere budget, Russia’s budget also foresees a 20% increase in military spending, which together with law enforcement, and state security sectors makes up about a third of the federal budget.

President Putin remains remarkably popular, and his grip on the country firm.