Putin’s Speech: A Mix of Welcome Economic Ideas and Defiance of the West


Меня почему-то назвали экономистом.

Speaking about the national currency, Putin lashed out against “speculators” enriching themselves by playing on the weakening ruble. “The authorities know who these speculators are and we’ve got tools for influencing them. It is high time to use these tools,” he said. While he was delivering the address, the ruble fell from 52.64 to 53.6 against the dollar. It was 33 rubles for a dollar in December last year, when Putin chose to intervene in the Ukrainian political crisis. Economist Tatyana Stanovaya wrote on the Russian website slon.ru that Putin’s speech goes to show that he “is grossly underestimating the catastrophic devaluation of the ruble and has not proposed any measures to stabilize the currency.”

The economic part of Putin’s speech sounded ambitious and upbeat. He promised to turn Russia into a world technology leader, double the scope of road construction, and ensure that the economy grows at a rate higher than the world average despite the World Bank forecasting zero growth for Russia in 2015.

The day Putin delivered his speech was mired by fighting in the Chechen capital, Grozny. The authorities said 10 people were killed and at least 20 injured as security forces blockaded groups of militants in a building occupied by government media outlets and in a nearby school. The first building caught fire during the assault, evoking memories of the Chechen war Putin waged and won in his early years as the Russian leader.


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