Breakingviews

Review: Money, theft and death in Putin’s Russia

By Edward Chancellor
March 6, 2015

Bill Browder's grandfather was an American communist. The grandson ran a hedge fund which profited during the chaos under Boris Yeltsin. But Browder did not reckon with the hard men of the Putin regime. His book offers some sobering lessons for investors in emerging markets.

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

December 29, 2014

Markets worried about Europe’s economy in 2014. They will worry about Europe’s security in 2015. EU sanctions over Ukraine will weigh heavily on Russia’s economy. A lot depends on Vladimir Putin, but Europeans need to define what they want sanctions to achieve.

Gazprom/Ukraine dispute is proxy for Putin’s whims

June 16, 2014

The Russian energy group will deliver only pre-paid gas to Ukraine, after talks on $4 bln of overdue bills collapsed. Combine that with renewed hostilities by Russian separatists in the east of the country, and markets were premature in believing that the Ukraine crisis has ended.

Sanctions on Russia will cost less than inaction

April 17, 2014

European leaders blame Russia for the takeover of Ukrainian cities by armed separatists. Yet they’re refraining from further sanctions because it’s not a full-blown invasion. The wavering and waiting will only increase the final price to be paid for Vladimir Putin’s actions.

Russia would pay steep price for Ukraine invasion

April 8, 2014

The pro-Russian agitation in eastern Ukraine has rekindled fears of an intervention from Moscow. But even if Vladimir Putin is tempted, the economic implications will hopefully bring second thoughts. Any Russian invasion would spur costly sanctions and massive capital flight.

Putin’s Russia may not be so stable after all

December 8, 2011

Even though protests against the prime minister party’s vote-rigging have been modest, they show the regime’s vulnerability. The system is corrupt and democracy badly lacking. Stability a-la-Putin requires a strong economy, but growth is slowing. What if Russians have had enough?

Russian economy could lose in state energy grab

November 8, 2012

Vladimir Putin is reneging on his own government’s privatisation pledges and seems intent on structuring the industry around two national champions, Gazprom and Rosneft. Investors tempted by the Russian energy sector should start applying a heavy Kremlin discount.

Depardieu would find heaven in Putin’s Russia

January 3, 2013

The French actor, who wants to leave France because of the socialist government’s tax policies, has been made a Russian citizen by his friend Vladimir Putin. The local 13 percent flat tax on income is hard to beat. And Depardieu would live under a regime closer to his liking.

Russia’s central bank can avoid “putinisation”

March 13, 2013

Vladimir Putin has chosen close adviser Elvira Nabiullina to run the monetary authority. The appointment could give the president too much sway at one of Russia’s few remaining independent and competent institutions. But the ex-economy minister deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The first oligarch dies, his kleptocracy thrives

March 25, 2013

The exiled Boris Berezovsky was a key figure in the Yeltsin regime but then fell out with Vladimir Putin. He was the main architect of the corrupt system that meshes business and politics, and which still rules Russia today. It survives him in good health.