Russia’s response to crisis: Crackdown

Russia’s response to crisis: Crackdown

MOSCOW – In Ukraine, politicians have debated the International Monetary Fund loan and anti-crisis measures in full public view. In Russia, the effects of the crisis have been hushed up, and an opposition protest on Dec. 14 was violently crushed by police.

“We’re back to where we started,” said Dmitry, 45, who attended the unsanctioned protest on Dec. 14 and declined to give his surname. “We had sausage and repression in Soviet times as well.”

The “sausage” has been Russia’s recent economic boom, built on high oil prices. But the global crisis has hit the country hard, and the sausage appears to be running out, as the price of oil has dived from a high of $147 per barrel in July to under $50. With next year’s budget calculated on the basis of an average of $95 per barrel, analysts say that Russia’s failure to diversify away from oil has left its economy weak.

Not that you would know it from watching television. While Ukrainians have been able to watch debates over the unfolding political and economic drama on television and in the press, Russians have been presented with a sea of calm. The word “crisis” was reportedly blacklisted from use on television in October and references to the global turmoil are usually accompanied by a statement blaming the United States for the problems.

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1 comment so far

  1. Greg on

    “blacklisted from use on television in October and references to the global turmoil are usually accompanied by a statement blaming the United States for the problems.” Isn’t that partly true? I mean was it the Russians that over bought and over consumed above their real limits?


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