Economic crisis in Russia?
Russia plans to increase the focus on war in its economy: in line with resolutions passed by the State Duma, companies are to be obliged to supply goods and services to the military. Commentators disagree over whether this means the Russian economy is in crisis and whether the sanctions are taking a toll on society.
Gazeta Wyborcza contradicts a report in The Economist about Russia's economic performance:
“The respected and influential weekly claims that the Russian economy is back on its feet. Meanwhile, even official Russian statistics show that the country is in deep crisis. ... Especially in regions with a pronounced industrial economic structure, unemployment is expected to rise - due to restrictions on exports and imports of intermediate products. ... Those in Putin's circle who deal with economics are demanding that something be done, that a strategy be developed to get the country out of this trap. But so far there are no proposals.”
The Kremlin needs to stimulate
In the face of the crisis, Izvestia calls for real economic assistance instead of regulations and cuts:
“With the economic blockade ring tightening this is clearly not the right time to cut spending. On the contrary, money is needed to support both demand and supply on the domestic market. And not only the supply of commodity producers, but also of everyone else. ... Perhaps we should take a trial departure from the usual paradigm and allow the economy to steer itself in the right direction, showing some patience in the process? And give it a little assistance instead of putting pressure on it.”
Putin not about to run out of cash anytime soon
The sanctions are not making much of an impact on the Kremlin, Kurier complains:
“The aircraft in Russia are slowly running out of spare parts from the West, so the Russians will soon no longer be able to fly. There you have it. Otherwise, Putin has everything one needs for a dictatorship. Food (to prevent hunger revolts), raw materials in abundance, as well as weapons and ammunition. And above all: money. Part of the 600 billion dollars in foreign exchange reserves is frozen in the West, but more is constantly flowing in. And if Putin runs short of gas, the price will increase and the Kremlin's treasury will get bigger. ... The main problem with all the sanctions is that they are not thought through to the end. India and China are not playing along.”
Russians have a different mentality
La Vanguardia reflects on why the sanctions aren't driving Russians onto the streets:
“Russia's population can't be compared with Europe's. People there are used to restrictions and shortages. So those who say that the economic impact could trigger a movement that topples Putin are unfamiliar with the Russian mentality. ... At the same time, it should be remembered that many Russians associate European democracy with the time when their country was ruled by Boris Yeltsin, when a combination of political corruption and economic crisis triggered a wave of protests. ... For that reason Putin is hardly going to be brought down by the economic impact of sanctions.”