Russian Crisis Hits Latvia, but (So Far) Not as Badly as Feared

From the beginning, it was clear that the economic crisis in Russia would pose multiple problems for Latvia and its Baltic neighbors. Until recently, many businesspeople in Latvia had seen close trade, transportation, and financial linkages as strengths that allowed their country to serve as Russia’s economic portal to the EU. Since the middle of […]

Russian Crisis Hits Latvia, but (So Far) Not as Badly as Feared

From the beginning, it was clear that the economic crisis in Russia would pose multiple problems for Latvia and its Baltic neighbors. Until recently, many businesspeople in Latvia had seen close trade, transportation, and financial linkages as strengths that allowed their country to serve as Russia’s economic portal to the EU. Since the middle of […]

Does Putin’s Proposed Eurasian Currency Union Make Sense?

At a meeting in Kazakhstan last week,  Russian  President Vladimir Putin proposed a currency union for the members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).  Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia are the current members, and Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to join later this spring. Does a common currency for the EAEU make sense? Not in economic terms, […]

What Ever Happened to the Misery Index?

Remember the 1960s? The 1970s? Back then, inflation surged from one peak to another but failed to deliver the low unemployment rates promised by the Phillips curve. In fit of frustration, economist Arthur Okun invented what he called the misery index—the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates. As the following chart shows, those were […]

The tsar and the sultan (queen) meddle with monetary policy

Governor Erdem Başçı did indeed save the best for last during his briefing on the Central Bank’s first Inflation Report of the year on Jan. 28. At the Q&A session, he said the monetary policy committee (MPC) would cut interest rates at an emergency meeting on Feb. 4 if annual inflation fell more than one percentage point in January. Here is […]

Can Russia Escape Dollar Dependence?

Russian president Vladimir Putin is determined to wean his country off the dollar, or so he says. In July, after insisting that the international monetary system depended too much “on the U.S. dollar, or, to be precise, on the monetary and financial policy of the U.S. authorities,” Putin signed off on a new BRICS development […]

The Economic Future (if Any) of “Novorossiya”

Last May, I posted an item on the economic situation in the rebellious regions of Eastern Ukraine, or “Novorossiya” (New Russia), to use the term increasingly favored by separatists and  their Russian sponsors. Novorossiya was the name of a province of Tsarist Russia that occupied much of the southern part of present-day Ukraine, stretching all […]

The Russia Sanctions Cul-de-Sac

The Russia sanctions are likely to have an adverse impact on Russian, U.S. and Chinese economy and could push Europe to a triple-dip recession. A diplomatic solution could deter diminished global prospects. Last March, President Obama initiated and expanded sanctions against Russia in financial services, energy, defense and related materials sectors. Meanwhile, China’s Ambassador to […]

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