Medvedev: In Moscow we laugh about the sanctions.  But prices are flying and the real economy seems to be struggling

Medvedev: In Moscow we laugh about the sanctions. But prices are flying and the real economy seems to be struggling

by Marco Imarisio

Beyond the Kremlin’s official version that Western sanctions aren’t hurting Russia’s economy, signs are mounting to the contrary: from crazy prices to out-of-service elevators

Smile, people, smile. Okay, now Dmitry Medvedev is no longer text. But even if his morning messages exaggerate the Kremlin’s positions with undue zeal, the former Russian president’s thesis that a laugh will bury sanctions decided by Grandfather Joe is instead in line with what Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at the opening yesterday the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which until last year was the country’s major international showcase. We prove that we have the resources to continue our evolution, ignoring any attempts to hold us back, to delay us, to force us to go back. The pressure of our enemies does not lead to negative results.

Everything is fine, this is the password. Last week, some bank employees were locked in the elevator of a skyscraper in Moscow City for hours. Yesterday, state media reported that the sanctions lack spare parts to fix the high-speed elevators. And since they often break, only the stairs remain. They are small episodes that reveal facts that go beyond the official version. Because the economy remains a tabulator subject, the only one where the authorities intervene almost directly to correct any dissenting opinions that emerge within the system. Some examples. Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev admitted at a hearing in the Duma in early June that the sanctions have practically destroyed our logistics system. He returned to the subject the next day and stated that he had expressed himself poorly. United Russia Senator Andrey Klishas, ​​​​​​author of the constitutional amendment allowing Putin to be reappointed for life, said in an interview that the import substitution plan had failed completely. was immediately denied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

This year’s forum is more political than economic. It serves to prove to ourselves that we are not isolated. Sergey Tsypliaev, an economics professor at St. Petersburg University, argues instead that the Russian winter will last for years. Europe is in the process of giving up its own oil and gas. India and China certainly cannot absorb as much as we have delivered elsewhere. Punishments are an anaconda, slowly pushing and choking. No country can develop in isolation, let alone modernize, also because our progress has always depended on the import of Western technologies. If we think we can do the import replacement ourselves, we are making a serious mistake. So far nobody in the world has managed to do that.

The few independent experts who can still be found on the streets agree with the equally rare rumors circulating among the Russian establishment’s fugitive sen. The sanctions take effect. And from next year the consequences will be even more noticeable. In 2023, revenues going to the Russian treasury will fall by at least a quarter after the latest package of oil trading measures, says Mikhail Krutikhin, co-founder and chief analyst at RusEnergy, an energy consulting agency. In Russia, refineries could close because Europe no longer needs the previous amounts of oil. Mining companies will be forced to cut production, which could fall by 30 percent this year. On the outside, the central bank’s efforts to keep the value of the ruble high across all borders look solid.

Daily life is a different matter. Yevsej Gurvich, a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Finance, expects a sharp drop in revenues and purchasing power in the near future. According to the Rosstat Statistics Committee, the prices of groceries and personal care products have increased by only 11.8 percent in recent months. But as the broadcaster Telegram Mozhem Obyasnit, which collects testimonies from all over the country, documents with many pictures and evidence, there is once again an alternative truth to the official one. The one available in supermarkets says the cost of shampoos, deodorants, razors, diapers, detergents has increased by 30 percent. The traditional five-liter demijohn with mineral water at 42%, the smoked salami at 50%. To buy a kilo of potatoes, the most important commodity par excellence, it costs five times as much ruble as it did last February 24. When it comes to penalties, there is little to laugh about.

June 16, 2022 (change June 16, 2022 | 08:13)