Moscow’s ability to survive western sanctions against Russia has improved because of the better-than-expected oil price and the relatively better performance of the economy,Chris Weafer, senior partner at Moscow’s Macro-Advisory wrote in a note to investors.
Senior politicians in the EU have dashed hopes that western sanctions against Russia may be eased this summer with tough rhetoric, Weafer noted on May 10.
The Russian Economy Ministry revised its assumptions for this year and up to 2019. It now forecasts GDP to decline by only 0.2% this year and return to growth of 0.8% in 2017.
Weafer noted that opinion polls show little change in people’s attitude towards government or for support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The creation of a National Guard has brought warnings of a crackdown on street protests. “But the move is more likely about personnel politics within the elite, with Putin wanting to create a senior job for a loyal ally, and also to bring [Ramzan] Kadyrov’s Chechen forces under Federal control,” he wrote.