The economic and financial crisis in Russia – background, symptoms and prospects for the future
The crisis in Russia’s financial market, which started in mid-December 2014, has exposed the real scale of the economic problems that have been growing in Russia for several years. Over the course of the last year, Russia’s basic macroeconomic indicators deteriorated considerably, the confidence of its citizens in the state and in institutions in charge of economic stability declined, the government and business elites became increasingly dissatisfied with the policy direction adopted by the Kremlin, and fighting started over the shrinking resources.
According to forecasts obtained from both governmental and expert communities, Russia will fall into recession in 2015. The present situation is the result of the simultaneous occurrence of three unfavourable trends: the fact that the Russian economy’s resource-based development model has reached the limits of its potential due to structural weaknesses, the dramatic decline in oil prices in the second half of 2014, and the impact of Western economic sanctions.
Given the inefficiency of existing systemic mechanisms, in the coming years the Russian leadership will likely resort to ad hoc solutions such as switching to a more interventionist “manual override” mode in governing the state. In the short term, this will allow them to neutralise the most urgent problems, although an effective development policy will be impossible without a fundamental change of the political and economic system in Russia.