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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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