Putin is worried not only about the Syrian crisis and the complicated relations with the West. The still feverish state of the economy and Russia’s social stability have long gotten his and Medvedev’s attention.
The interview he granted to the Mir television channel this week is not a coincidence. Putin focused on the difficult situation the country, stating that “the sanctions have played a relative role … the key factor was the change of circumstances in the world market.”
The Russian economy is heavily dependent on oil prices, and the strong fibrillations of the ruble are known. This year, after two years of recession and a drop in GDP of 5 percent, the economy is expected to grow by 1.5 percent.
However, the recovery is still hampered not only by the weakness in crude oil prices but also by structural problems: The massive corruption in public administration and in the health system, a flight of capital to tax havens that exceeds $50 billion a year, the anemic dynamics of small and medium businesses, and the decline in wage and salary income.