Voices from Russia

Monday, 26 February 2018

What Sanctions? Russia’s Investment Rating Upgraded

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On 23 February 2018, Standard and Poors raised its estimation of Russia’s sovereign credit rating from BB+ to BBB-. This is good news for the Russian Federation as it continues to realign its economy in response to the various sanctions that the West (mainly the USA) imposes on the nation. Under President Putin’s leadership, Russia gradually improved since the peak of the sanctions crisis near the end of 2015. The rating change means that S&P no longer considers Russia as “junk” investment territory. The Financial Times reported that S&P attributed the upgrade to the country’s “prudent policy response” taken in response to the sanctions. The analysts further said this:

The ratings are supported by Russia’s commitment to conservative macroeconomic management, its strong net external asset position, low government debt, and relatively high monetary flexibility, including a flexible exchange rate. The ratings are constrained by our assessment of Russia’s economy, which remains dependent on revenues from oil and gas exports, as well as by wider institutional and regulatory weaknesses. Further constraints include geopolitical tension, and resulting international sanctions, creating a drag on Russia’s long-term economic growth prospects.

The S&P rating lift takes Russia into stable investment territory. Another analytics agency, Fitch Ratings, affirmed Russia’s long-term foreign and local currency issue default ratings, also at “BBB-” with a Positive Outlook:

Russia’s ratings balance a strong sovereign balance sheet, robust external finances, and an improved policy framework against weaker macroeconomic performance than peers, structural weaknesses (commodity dependence and governance risks), and geopolitical tensions. The Positive Outlook reflects continued progress in strengthening the economic policy framework underpinned by a more flexible exchange rate, a strong commitment to inflation-targeting, and a prudent fiscal strategy. These policies contribute to improved macroeconomic stability and, together with robust external and fiscal balance sheets, increase the economy’s resilience to shocks. The estimated federal budget deficit narrowed to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2017, less than half the 2016 out-turn and well below the BBB median. The non-oil deficit shrank to 7.9 percent of GDP in 2017 from 9.1 percent in 2016. Fitch forecasts that Russia will post a fiscal deficit of 0.6 percent in 2018 (outperforming the budgeted 1.3 percent deficit), reflecting higher-than-budgeted oil prices, continued non-oil and gas revenue growth, and expenditure restraint. It should achieve the current official 2019 primary balance forecast comfortably, with Fitch forecasting surpluses at both the primary and overall levels.

The rest of the report is similarly quite positive. It’s an interesting point that many Russian businesses are grateful for the opportunities created by the sanctions even though they had the intent to hurt and punish Russia for whatever cause célèbre the West could dream up. Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, doesn’t it?

25 February 2018

Seraphim Hanisch

Russia Feed     

http://russiafeed.com/what-sanctions-russia-investment-rating-got-upgraded/

Saturday, 20 January 2018

MID RF Sez Russia Opposes Unilateral Sanctions Against the DPRK

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On Saturday, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs I V Morgulov told us:

As for pressure on Pyongyang, we’d emphasise that the international community by adopting unanimously UNSC Resolution 2375 last December agreed to measures against the DPRK in response to its nuclear tests. We call on Washington to follow the measures specified by that resolution exactly. International sanctions, as agreed by the UN Security Council, are the proper way to influence Pyongyang. As regards any additional measures, Russia has always opposed unilateral limitations undertaken outside the UN Security Council.

20 January 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/politics/986042

 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

12 August 2017. What D A Medvedev Said on the Amerikantsy and Their Loud “Sanctions”

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I start with the Russian original. Then, I made my own translation from the original. All too often, when Russian pieces transit into English, one finds either jangly grammar or “dumbed-down” comment. I avoided this by doing a “roll yer own” translation. Do note that Dmitri Anatolyevich isn’t overly hot n’ bothered by the Amerikan temper tantrum… he also notes that the Amerikantsy toddlers have declared a Cold War because Russia won’t kiss their naked ass in public at high noon for the whole world to see. I mourn… the Amerikantsy are dragging the world into crisis and one only hopes that these demented toddlers with nukes won’t fry the world to a crisp. May the Good God help us…

BMD

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Подписание президентом США нового санкционного закона против России создает несколько последствий. Во-первых, надежде на улучшение наших отношений с новой американской администрацией – конец. Во-вторых, России объявлена полноценная торговая война. В-третьих, администрация Трампа продемонстрировала полное бессилие, самым унизительным образом передав исполнительные полномочия Конгрессу. Это меняет расклад сил в политических кругах США.

Что это означает для них? Американский истеблишмент вчистую переиграл Трампа. Президент не рад новым санкциям, но не мог не подписать закон. Новая санкционная тема возникла прежде всего как еще один способ поставить Трампа на место. Впереди новые заходы, конечная цель которых – отстранение его от власти. Несистемный игрок должен быть ликвидирован. При этом интересы американского бизнеса практически проигнорированы. Политика возвысилась над прагматическим подходом. Антироссийская истерия превратилась в ключевую часть не только внешней (что было много раз), но и внутренней американской политики (а это – новелла).

Санкционный режим кодифицирован и будет сохраняться десятилетиями, если не произойдет какое-то чудо. Причем он будет жестче закона Джексона – Вэника, ибо носит всеобъемлющий характер и не может быть отложен специальными распоряжениями президента без согласия Конгресса. Таким образом, отношения между РФ и США будут крайне напряженными вне зависимости от состава Конгресса или личности президента. Предстоят длительные выяснения отношений в международных органах и судах. Дальнейшее усиление международной напряженности. Отказ от решения важнейших международных проблем.

Что это означает для нас? Мы спокойно продолжим работу по развитию экономики и социальной сферы, будем заниматься замещением импорта, решать важнейшие государственные задачи, рассчитывая прежде всего на себя. Мы научились это делать за последние годы. В условиях почти закрытых финансовых рынков, боязни иностранных кредиторов и инвесторов вкладываться в Россию под страхом санкций против третьих лиц и стран. В чем-то это даже пошло нам на пользу, хотя санкции – в целом – бессмысленны. Мы справимся.

Д А Медведев

Председатель Правительства Российской Федерации

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The signing of a new sanctions law aimed against Russia by the US President has several implications. Firstly, our hopes to improve our relations with the new American administration are over. Secondly, it declares an actual trade war against Russia. Thirdly, the Administration demonstrated its complete impotence; Congress overrode Trump’s executive powers in the most humiliating way. This changed the balance of power in US political circles.

What does this mean? The American Establishment completely outsmarted Trump. The President isn’t happy about the new sanctions, but he couldn’t veto the law. Primarily, the new sanctions ploy is just another way to put Trump in his place. This is the first in a series of moves with the ultimate purpose of removing him from power. They must liquidate any non-system player. This virtually ignored American business interests, which prefer a pragmatic approach to policy. Anti-Russian hysteria isn’t only a salient point in foreign affairs (an old theme), but also in domestic American politics (which is something new).

The US Congress formalised sanctions, so they’ll be there for decades, barring some sort of miracle. Moreover, they’re tougher than the Jackson-Vannick Amendment was, as the President can’t modify them by executive order without Congressional consent. Thus, the relationship between Russia and the USA will be extremely tense, regardless of the composition of Congress or the personality of the President. The sanctions face a lengthy showdown in international bodies and courts. They further heighten international tensions and don’t address critical international problems.

What does this mean for us? We’ll continue developing our economy and social sphere; we’ll implement import substitution and resolve critical needs in our state by relying primarily on ourselves. In recent years, we’ve learnt how to manage things, even with almost-closed financial markets, as foreign lenders and investors fear to invest in Russia, as they face sanctions penalties from third-parties and countries. In some ways, it’s even to our advantage, making the sanctions generally pointless. We can cope with this.

A D Medvedev

Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation

Monday, 19 June 2017

Russia SLAMS Trump’s Cuba policy

Russia supports the legacy of Comrade Fidel and respects Cuba’s socialist vision

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The MID RF expressed solidarity with Cuba and cautioned against a return to “Cold War rhetoric”. It condemned moves by the Trump Administration to reimpose a ban on Americans travailing to Cuba as well as a likely return to many previously lifted sanctions dropped during Barack Obama’s historic thaw with Havana. Trump came out with hardline policies on Cuba in a lengthy campaign-style speech from Miami, home to many anti-Communist Cubans. The MID RF released a condemnatory statement saying that the USA’s “arrogant style of doing business with Cuba is pointless”. It also said that if the USA fully returns to the era of embargo, blockade, and sanctions, the USA would be totally out of step with the expressed will of the UN General Assembly. Russia reaffirmed its position on Cuba in the following way:

We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with Cuba… a friendly peace-loving country, an authoritative member of the international community, which has a recognised constructive role in Latin America and in world affairs.

Moscow and Havana have been close ever since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, relations were somewhat strained in the 1990s but have seen become close and fruitful again under President Putin. In many ways, this is the clearest sign yet that Trump intends to run for President in 2020. Republicans long used the issue with Cuba to cultivate votes among anti-Communist Cubans living in the important state of Florida. Trump’s Cuba policy is likely nothing more than an attempt to win future votes in an important US state.

18 June 2017

Adam Garrie

The Duran

http://theduran.com/russia-slams-trumps-cuba-policy/

Editor:

The MID RF reaffirmed Russia’s support for the Island of Freedom and its socialist vision. Those who say that Russia is “conservative” can eat shit and die!

BMD

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