Is Russia’s Economy Running Out Of Gas?

An Old Game With New Rules In Russia’s Backyard

With Europe finding new sources of natural gas, and Asian economies looking at Canadian markets, the Russian economy is starting to retreat behind the former Iron Curtain, Graeber writes. By Daniel J. Graeber,Guest blogger / September 26, 2013 Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit, at Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland in June. Peter Muhly/Reuters/File Enlarge The head of the World Bank in Russia saidWednesdayhe was alarmed by the slowdown in the Russian economy. The bank said the Russian economy was slow to emerge from a recession still gripping parts of the eurozone despite recovery elsewhere in the world. It said the government’s investment activities slowed down in part because of the completion of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. Its dependence on oil and natural gas exports, meanwhile, exposed the Russian economy to additional risks. With Europe finding new sources of natural gas, and Asian economies looking at Canadian markets, the Russian economy is starting to retreat behind the former Iron Curtain. OilPrice.com offers extensive coverage of all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and environmental issues. To see more opinion pieces and news analysis that cover energy technology, finance and trading, geopolitics, and sector news, please visit Oilprice.com . Recent posts The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition The World Bank said it revised its growth projection for the Russian economy from its May estimate of 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent for 2013. “The economy appears to be growing close to its capacity, constrained by feeble investment activities and a tight labor market,” Birgit Hansl, World Bank coordinator for economic policy in Russia, said in a statement. (Related article: Why Canada’s Oil Future isn’t Going South ) RECOMMENDED: Fracking. Tight oil. Do you know your energy vocabulary? The report said Russia’s dependence on oil and natural gas exports left its economy exposed to volatility on the global commodity market.

Its really decimated whole cities there. Krokodil is made up of several ingredients easily accessed at home improvement stores and pharmacies. The base of the drug is usually codeine. Pure codeine is extracted from its pill form and adulterated with chemicals to create a liquid substance that is later injected into the veins. The types of chemicals used by manufacturers vary. Some of the chemicals theyve used are very dangerous, LoVecchio said. Theyve used things like hydrochloric acid. Some have used paint thinners, gasoline and other stuff that includes phosphorous. The acidity of the chemicals causes the bodys fat and skin to burn off and die, LoVecchio said. The presence of chemicals also makes the body more prone to infection. Immediate effects include visible scarring on the skin. Long-term effects are much worse. Once you start using this drug on a daily basis, you could die within two years, he said. Other reports are that death is probably due to overwhelming infection.

Flesh-Eating Street Drug from Russia Hits the US

Longtime Kremlin-watcher Edward Lucas is the International Editor for the British weekly “The Economist” and author of the book “Deception: Spies, Lies, and How Russia Dupes the West.” He believes the current situation “is teaching the EU that whether they like it or not they are in a geopolitical clash with Russia.” Edward Lucas x Edward Lucas “There has been this naive assumption in the EU in the past that there are lots of win-win [situations] out there and if we only talk nicely to the Russians then everything will be fine,” he says. “It’s not. It’s pretty much a zero-sum game and either you go with Russia or the EU. And I think the EU has had to fight much tougher than it’s done in the past.” Moreover, as memories of the Soviet Union fade and Russia’s neighbors become more comfortable with their sovereignty, they have become more willing to resist pressure from Moscow. Lucas says this tendency has been reinforced by the stronger European presence. “The West has gotten much more entrenched in these countries and the national consciousness is more developed,” he says. “People in Belarus or eastern Ukraine genuinely believe they are in a real country, whereas back in the early 1990s it hadn’t clicked for a lot of people that the Soviet Union was over. So the national identities are stronger.” Lucas adds that trade in many post-Soviet states has been “hugely reoriented” toward the West creating “a stronger base for European influence.” Old Habits Die Hard Nevertheless, Moscow still has cards to play. Strong networks continue to exist between Russia’s political and business elites and those in its former Soviet neighbors. Corruption remains rife and many prefer the clannish post-Soviet style of doing business than the more transparent model that integration with Europe would entail. “The Russians know that their way of doing business is widely accepted in many of these countries and that there are people in the business and political elites in those places who would prefer to operate in the Russian way,” says Lough. Lough adds, however that even these elites are resistant to accepting a “diktat from Moscow” and that too much Kremlin pressure could drive them away. And, he says, others already “see what the Russians are offering as a scary proposition.” Nevertheless, Russia appears determined as ever to prevent Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia from signing Association Agreements with the European Union at a summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in November.