Russia: Commentator calls for Putin to ‘turn gas off’

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Anton Barbashin, the Editorial Director of Riddle Russia – an online journal of Russian affairs – said the country will experience a worse financial situation than during the great depression.

He warned the eight percent decline in 2008-09 won’t even be a match for the fall it is facing this year.

This “economic crisis” is “not like the other”, Mr Barbashin said.

The war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed by Western nations led to a decline in imports.

He predicts imports will shrink by “about a quarter” by the end of the year.

Russian exports are also on the decline as gas exports are expected to reduce by around 36 percent, steel and fertilisers will go down around 30 percent, while coal exports are predicted to decline by 29 percent and wheat by 27 percent.

The Office of National Statistics announced imports of goods from Russia decreased to £33million in June 2022 and are at the lowest level since records began in January 1997.

In the same month, there were no imports of fuels from Russia for the first time since records began.

Exports had also dropped by £168million (66.9 percent) compared with the monthly average for the 12 months to February 2022.

But Mr Barbashin revealed oil exports are so far on the rise as the EU’s partial oil embargo on Russian crude oil will not be brought into effect until December 5.

Therefore, EU countries are currently stocking up on Russian oil before the embargo is introduced.

As a result, oil exports from Russia to Europe have recently reached new highs, at 3.41 million barrels per day, and the discount at which it was traded has almost halved.

Writing on Twitter, the political analyst said: “Nevertheless, it does not protect Russian budget from going deficit already in July. Even with oil prices this high ($100 and above). A trend that will keep on going indefinitely”.

Russian economist Vladislav Inozemtsev said 2022 has, so far, undoubtedly been “quite unique for the Russian economy”.

Writing for Riddle Russia, he said: “In terms of the depth of the economic downturn, it is certainly going to ‘outdo’ the crisis year of 2009, when the Russian Federation’s GDP shrank by 7.9 percent.

“When it comes to de‑globalisation, it will surpass all parameters of 2014−2015, when Russia was first subjected to Western sanctions following the occupation of Crimea and efforts to provoke separatism in the eastern regions of Ukraine”.

He said the significant decline in imports in the first and second half of the year is not expected to recover in the near future.

Mr Inozemtsev said an “unexpected factor” was the situation in export deliveries, which have all – except for oil shipments – been declining significantly in volume between January and July.

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