Staunton, March 13 – Yesterday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the international financial community has given “the highest assessment” to the macro-economic stability that Russia has maintained during the pandemic (ria.ru/20210312/ekonomika-1600913094.html).
But two opposition Duma deputies, Valery Gartung of Just Russia and Oleg Smolin of KPRF, say, in response to queries from the Regions news portal, that Peskov’s words ignore the impact of what is actually happening inside Russia by focusing instead on what international bankers think (regions.ru/news/2629508/).
Gartung for his part says stability can hardly be the highest value given that “the greatest stability is in a cemetery!” In Russia, he points out, “for a long time, the incomes of citizens have not grown and the economy hasn’t either. Is this stability? Yes, but do we need such stability. No, we don’t.”
Bankers and financiers abroad may benefit from what Russia is doing to itself, “but if you ask the opinion of Russian pensioners, especially those who are still working and have not seen their pensions indexed for inflation” in recent years, you will get a different answer. They don’t want things to continue as they are but to change to their benefit, whatever foreigners think.
Smolin in contrast says that Peskov is in part right because Moscow has handled this crisis better than it did in 2008 but that doesn’t mean it has done the right thing as far as the future is concerned. Russia isn’t set to recover as fast as others because Moscow hasn’t provided anything like the assistance to its population that other countries have to theirs.
The Russian government has provided assistance to Russians amounting to 2.5 percent of GDP, he says, while the Europeans and Americans have provided more than twice as much, “about 10 percent,” and Japan, eight times as much or 20 percent.
“Thank God,” the communist deputy says, “the majority [of Russians have survived, but the prognosis is that our rates of growth “w ill be lower than in those countries which provided more help to their people.” Peskov doesn’t mention that, and thus misses what for Russians is the more important reality.