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Обама и экономика России…

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Статья в “Politico”.

Speaking at a Moscow event in early October, Russian President Vladimir Putin sounded cocky about the sanctions imposed on his country by Washington and its European allies. The penalties, Putin said, were “utter silliness” that would only hurt Western businesses.
But now that Russia’s economy is rapidly imploding, with oil prices plunging and the ruble collapsing, Putin is the one feeling the pain. And the question already being debated in Washington is whether President Barack Obama’s strategy of economically sanctioning and isolating Russia deserves any credit.
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“It’s hard to disaggregate out the independent effects of the sanctions from the bigger story. Obviously the driver is oil prices,” said Obama’s former ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul.
“That said, there is no doubt that sanctions raise uncertainty about the Russian economy. Their own minister of economic development said today that the ruble is falling faster than the macroeconomic indicators would suggest it should be,” McFaul added.
Republicans, who have long maligned Obama’s policy as too timid, were more skeptical. “I think it’s a pretty hard sell to say that the sanctions strategy on Russia is what is tanking the ruble right now,” said a senior congressional GOP aide.
“The impact of sanctions is absolutely marginal in this story,” added the aide.
Though the cause is disputed, no one disagrees that Putin’s economy is in crisis. On Tuesday, the Russian ruble fell nearly 6 percent in value — and is down by nearly half since Putin’s Oct. 2 comments. The price of oil, on which Putin’s economy relies, has plunged by about a third. Trying to stem the damage, Russia’s central bank has cranked up interest rates to a whopping 17 percent. Still, analysts see little relief ahead for a Russian economy in a spiral that recalls a 1998 crash that required massive international aid — and which rocked Moscow’s political leadership.
“We couldn’t imagine what’s happening in our worst nightmare even a year ago,” Sergey Shvetsov, a senior Russian central banking official, said in Moscow on Tuesday.

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