World Economy

Russia Crisis Long-Lasting

Russia Crisis Long-Lasting  Russia Crisis Long-Lasting

More than four-fifths of Russians believe their country is currently in a state of economic crisis, according to a poll by the independent Levada Center, a Russian non-governmental research organization.

The poll released this week found that 21% of Russians believe the economic crisis will last “many years,” while another 23% believe it will last at least two years, Radio Free Europe reported.

Some 47% of respondents blame the crisis on falling global energy prices, while 33% blame corruption, 27% blame western sanctions, and 26% blame “excessive” spending on defense and the bureaucracy.

In addition, more than half of respondents said the crisis had forced them to economize on spending for food and other necessities. Another 58% said they have cut back on daily spending, compared to 37% a year ago. And 40% of respondents said spending on food accounts for more than half of their total household income.

  Not Reality

A former deputy chairman of the Russian central bank has said Russia’s economic crisis is worse than Moscow admits and that the Kremlin’s optimism about future prospects “has not been based on reality.”

Sergei Aleksashenko told Radio Free Europe on February 10 that “the Russian economy is not going to grow” in the near future “and the most likely scenario is stagnation in the medium term.”

He said Russian authorities “have not acknowledged the real nature of the crisis, at least publicly” and the crisis “is not over, as the Kremlin claims.”

“On the contrary,” he said, “the Russian economy is set to continue downward.”

President Vladimir Putin has wagered that ordinary Russians will withstand the hardships brought about amid deteriorating relations with the West over his foreign policy maneuvers.

But now, Aleksashenko said, Russia is experiencing a series of negative trends that, by his estimate, dragged down Russia’s GDP by 9% in 2015.

Russia’s state statistics agency said GDP fell by only 3.7% last year.

  US Hand

Russia’s top investigator Alexander Bastrykin has accused the United States of heralding in a new phase of “open confrontation” with Russia that has seen it undermine justice to damage Russian interests.

Bastrykin told a roundtable discussion at Moscow’s All-Russian State University of Justice that the United States and its allies had waged a “hybrid war (economic, political, information)” against Russia for two decades, a transcript of his speech on the Investigative Committee’s website published Friday said.

“In the past years, this war has entered a new phase of open confrontation,” said Bastrykin. “Sadly, justice itself has become the victim of this hybrid war.”

Bastrykin cited the findings of a British-led inquest into the fatal poisoning of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko as an example of US interference. The report published in January concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “probably” approved the use of polonium-210 to poison Litvinenko at a London hotel.