“Vladimir Putin will destroy the Russian economy”

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Sergei Kurive during a conference on June 12, 2019 at the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt (Germany).

Sergei Kurive, a former chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was one of Vladimir Putin’s economic advisers in the early 2010s. Before being deported to France, After criticizing the arrest of opponents of the Russian presidential re-election in 2012, became concerned about his safety. He explains why the latter underestimated Western sanctions. Without money from hydrocarbons, he will fight to continue the war and financial repression in his country.

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The scale of the reaction of the West, especially the freezing of assets of the Russian central bank, surprised Vladimir Putin. Why?

Observing the political polarization of the United States, US troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. [achevé fin août 2021] And he believed that the West was weak and divided because of the lack of unity in Europe. He thought the invasion of Ukraine, like Crimea, would end in a few more days [en 2014], And Western sanctions will come late. He underestimated the Ukrainian opposition and exaggerated the strength of the Russian military.

This is not a bug, but a feature of the system created by Vladimir Putin. He suppressed all the voices of protest that surrounded him, as did society. He is surrounded by people who are afraid to stand up to him. He praises the principles he adheres to and receives only biased messages from them that underestimate his opponents. He misinformed. This explains why he takes these irrational risks.

In the face of sanctions, can the Russian economy stay on its own for long?

Yes, it can be significantly weakened. In particular, one can hope that some of the Western technologies designed in China can be modified. In this regard, two questions would be crucial. The first is hydrocarbons. If the embargo is imposed and Russia no longer receives gas and oil money, it will face a major financial crisis. Mr. Putin will then find it difficult to pay his troops, the police who beat the protesters and the campaigners.

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The second of China. Will it agree to support Moscow unhindered or will it fear that it will be allowed by the West, knowing that its prosperity depends on Europe, one of its key trading partners? Mr. China. Putin will not be as loyal as he believes.

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