Aug. 22, 2016 Putin has been making moves to shore up his position in the face of a weak economy.
Originally produced on Aug. 15, 2016 for Mauldin Economics, LLC
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin did three very interesting things. First, he fired his long-time aide and chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, and moved him to a lower position. A few weeks earlier, Putin fired at least three regional governors and replaced them with his personal bodyguards. Removing that many governors is a bit odd. Replacing them with his bodyguards is very odd. Then removing someone as close to him as Ivanov is extremely odd.
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March 10, 2017 Approximately one year from now, on March 18, 2018, Russia will hold a presidential election against the backdrop of an economic crisis that will continue to plague the country in the coming year. Internal developments are the key issue facing Russia this year, and the countryside will increasingly show signs of crisis.
Russia faces a number of social and economic problems that have resulted in unrest. After oil prices dropped in late 2014, the country began to experience economic and labor protests. Since then, unrest has continued to spread across Russia. Wage arrears (workers owed back pay), which affect both public and private workers, have become increasingly problematic in oil-dependent and single-industry economies throughout Russia’s interior and in port cities. Cuts in social programs that affect payments to veterans and children have also led to public protests.