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Crimea Worsens Economic Crisis

Published: April 30, 2014 (Issue # 1808)


It is no simple task foreconomists tocalculate thecosts ofRussias current foreign policy course, thelosses resulting fromfrightened investors andcreditors andthe damage that sanctions will cause. Some claim that any lack ofenthusiasm forthe economy however justifiable is patently unpatriotic. Others hold just theopposite view, condemning any attempt topropose this or that economic policy given theposition inwhich Russia now finds itself.

Before seizing Crimea, thegovernment should have done more toreduce corruption andimprove theclimate forbusinesses andforeign investors. Theevents inCrimea andeastern Ukraine make both foreign anddomestic investors even more skittish. They also lower Russians faith inthe ruble andin Russian banks.

There is now aneven greater need toimprove theenvironment forbusiness andinvestors. Thequestions Russias leaders need toask themselves are: How can we give businesspeople more investment opportunities? How can we facilitate technology transfer given theworsening situation?

Under thecurrent circumstances, Russia must focus onachieving aradical reduction inthe bureaucracy forbusinesses bysimplifying all procedures. Forstarters, Moscow could simplify therules forobtaining aRussian visa andwaive theneed forcertification if imported products have already been certified inthe U.S. or theEuropean Union.

Instead, it seems that authorities are competing with each other tosee who can do themost harm tothe economy. One top Russian official proposed selling off thecountrys dollar andeuro reserves without explaining how they would be replaced. Perhaps he would prefer theyen andyuan. But aquick look atthe currencies preferred bythe central banks ofother countries is enough toshow that they are far less reliable. Maybe he feels Russia should keep its money ingold.

Forevery difficult andcomplex situation, leaders should respond with better andmore responsible economic policy andnot just make matters worse.

Konstantin Sonin, acolumnist forVedomosti, is Professor ofEconomics andVice Rector atthe Higher School ofEconomics inMoscow.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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