Even as the United States and European Union continue imposing heavy sanctions on Russia, President Putin intends to decisively circumvent economic and political contraction.
Despite the plunge of ruble last week by more than half its value this year, President Putin ordered military drills in close proximity of three Baltic states who are NATO members and whom President Obama pledged to defend should Moscow attempt any sort of aggression.
Political actions of the president should be keeping his rates up to avoid any showdown on the domestic front. That’s one of the reasons Mr. Putin held a four hour long press conference with Russian and foreign journalists to respond to questions on Russian economy, collapse of ruble and Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Equally important though is President Putin’s approval from his business elite who have been strongly hit by the Western sanction and continue to be the target.
That’s one of the reasons why the president met with the representatives of Russia’s big businesses. During the meeting, he told the heads of companies that the Russian government has to consult with big businesses while making big economy-related decisions. “You know, in the last few years, we have not made any significant decisions which affect the Russian economy one way or another without consultations with the business environment,” said President Putin, according to Russian news agency ITAR TASS.
He added that “today’s meeting is especially significant, also taking into account that external factors, namely the circumstances on the international markets and oil and gas markets, on which many things in our economy depend, situation in our economy and finances and condition of our national currency.”
He pledged the businessmen to word in accord with them, including on efforts to diversify the economy from dependence on oil and gas revenues.
Although making decisions related to economy of the country with consultations with the businesses is a good step by the administration, more significance is borne by the unilateral political actions of the government in its foreign policy directions. That is, the current economic crisis the country has dived in is largely due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion in Eastern Ukraine.