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About Russia Blog
My job is to produce detailed thematic analysis of country and policy risk factors for investors exposed to Russia and the wider FSU. Plying this trade has kept me following political, economic and business news out of Russia over two decades of living and working in the country. This first-hand experience of post-Soviet Russia’s tumultuous history can offer perspectives that cut through much media coverage made tendentious by the Western habit of projecting hopes and fears onto Russia which have little to do with Russian realities.
This blog offers thinking-in-progress prompted by current developments. It aims to promote discussion among readers who have a strong interest in Russian affairs. The topics covered range from neglected developments to the hottest headlines. In this spirit, our launch posting offers a novel angle on the latest in the Khodorkovsky saga.
Recent Russia research
|RUSSIA MONITOR: Pension reform and the Moscow Exchange, 10 May 2013|
|UPDATE: Russian privatization: Rumours of its death are exaggerated, Christopher Granville, Irina Lebedeva, CFA, Jan Cleave, 7 May 2013|
See all our Russia research >>
Previous blog posts
The Rosneft-BP alliance and foreign investment charm offensive,
16 Jan 2011
The Khodorkovsky trial outcome and Putin anger management,
13 Jan 2011
Russia BlogFlashes of insight from sifting through the Russian newsflow
Russian election notes: 1996 and all that
23 Feb 2012
There has been a sensation following President Medvedev’s meeting with opposition leaders on 20 February. Medvedev is reported to have said at that meeting that Boris Yeltsin’s victory in the 1996 presidential election was falsified. By no means simply an historical curiosity, this claim is highly relevant to understanding present-day political risk.
Two of the politicians present at the 20 February meeting – to which the leaders of the marginal and, in some cases, radical parties were invited, as opposed to the “establishment” opposition represented in the Duma – have since...
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Russian election notes: Back to the fiscal-oil price risk
17 Feb 2012
Sifting through this week’s Russian election-related headlines from the point of view of investment risks, we identified a clear economic highlight – one that has to do with fiscal policy.
The story came into focus on 13 February, with the publication of the latest installment – on social policy – of Vladimir Putin’s election platform. The centre-piece is a promise to hike salaries in education and healthcare. Putin himself costed this commitment at 1.5 per cent of GDP. Sberbank economists have since put the number a little lower, at 1.23 per cent of GDP by 2018, with an aggregate...
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Gas sector reform breakthrough – good news for Russian oil companies
9 Feb 2011
15 months ago, we predicted a demonopolization of the domestic gas market as a big investment theme in the Russian energy sector (A new reason to buy Russian oil stocks). I had expected the corresponding policy moves to start materializing in 2010. What actually happened last year was a kind of prelude to proper structural reform. This took the form of Igor Sechin (Putin’s right-hand man and the deputy premier responsible for energy policy) using companies in his orbit – Novatek and Inter RAO – to soften up Gazprom’s domestic monopoly.
Novatek has always had a special relationship...
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Domodedovo explosion: What is to be done?
25 Jan 2011
“That suicide bomber in Domodedovo was trying to kill people like me.” This thought must be uppermost in the minds of international financial and business types who fly frequently to Moscow on the European airlines which increasingly use Domodedovo – especially as the bomber’s 4.30pm timing was obviously set to “meet” the main flights from Western Europe with his lethal and mutilating shrapnel-laden blast. My own mind is certainly concentrated by the fact that but for the last-minute postponement of a meeting, I would myself have been flying into Domodedovo yesterday. Emotions rarely...
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