Somebody might want to remind Anton Siluanov that Russia’s got elections coming up.
United Russia – the ruling ‘party of Putin’ that isn’t allowed to use the Russian president’s name or likeness as it campaigns to keep control of the State Duma in September – has never been less popular than it is now. And it’s no wonder: While Putin gets the credit for Crimea, Syria and restoring Russians’ pride in their country, United Russia gets left holding the flag for the flagging economy. And so uninspiring are the party’s leaders, that Putin’s handlers are evidently concerned that United Russia’s unpopularity might rub off on the president himself; hence the ban on even using Putin’s name.
But Finance Minister Anton Siluanov doesn’t have time for the niceties of electoral politics. He’s got an economy to run. And in a statement today, he’s made it abundantly clear that improving the welfare of ordinary Russian citizens – the sort who usually vote for United Russia – isn’t among his top priorities.
What Siluanov said was that neither the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development or the Central Bank have any particular interest in seeing the ruble strengthen (as it has, slightly, on the back of rising oil prices). That’s textbook economics: if your currency rises, the competitiveness of domestic industry falls. But Russia’s not a textbook economy. […]
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