Interesting images that show how Russia has successfully moved the ruble away from petro-currency status & decoupled exchange rates from oil prices. While it affects ordinary Russians external purchasing power, it benefits the federal budget (dollar revenues/ruble expenses).
When I first came to Russia, the ruble was so high that a beer in Khabarovsk (20km from the Chinese border) was $8-10, and tomatoes were imported from Spain (about 11,000km away). It was cheaper for people to go to China or Seoul for a weekend than to go to Vladivostok.
The weaker ruble has restricted Russians ability to travel (which, of course, is not bad news for the exchequer). But, on the other hand, it’s made the domestic economy more sustainable: agriculture is flourishing & people now go to Sochi or Yalta instead of St Moritz or Nice.
Btw, not arguing that making Russians poorer in $$$ terms was some sort of wonderful thing. Just making point that 2010/11 economy wasn’t sustainable. Russia was just exporting resources & importing everything else. Flowers were being flown to Vladivostok from Holland. No joke.

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More from @27khv

22 Feb
A holiday here in Russia, but having a bizarre exchange with @johnsweeneyroar roar (formerly of British state broadcaster BBC) who has read through 21 months of my tweets & has chosen to attack me over an article I didn't write (and he clearly didn't read). How's your Monday?
Yesterday, he was on the attack over a pair of tweets from 2019, but he can't explain what is inaccurate in them.

Twitter really is a bizarre place sometimes.

These ad hominem attacks are made even funnier by the fact that no English-language editor has covered the Alexey Navalny-case more extensively than myself.

Have published 324 articles since August 20th, last year, referring to the Russian opposition figure. Image
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
Today, NATO's main purpose is to justify high-levels of defence spending in the US & to open up lucrative European markets for American weapons manufacturers.

There are cheaper & easier ways to handle Moscow: A new, inclusive, pan European-security architecture, for example.
Here's a 1998 @nytimes article explaining why NATO continued to expand after the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

American arms manufacturers "made enormous investments in lobbyists" to open up "new & hugely lucrative" markets in Europe at a time when US-Russian relations were good.
Of course, this made NATO itself a self-fulfilling prophecy as each expansion it undertook obviously increased the "Russian threat" to its existing members.

Because NATO moved its borders closer to Russia.
Read 9 tweets
18 Feb
Okay, this is a big deal: Leaked files suggest the British government has been running a covert, multi million pound, 'info war' campaign since 2017 to co-opt Russian-language anti-Kremlin media & influencers to ‘weaken the Russian state.’…
It goes way beyond funding/training networks of journalists secretly, and is about infiltration of every sphere of civil society, using everything as a weapon - exploiting children as 'agents', even bizarre stuff like online games (such as "Putin Bingo") to undermine Russia.
For instance, @meduzaproject (which positions itself as "independent media") apparently has a close relationship with the UK state. It was known it received Western financing, but this level of cooperation/control is mindblowing. FWIW, Meduza does some decent reporting IMO.
Read 5 tweets
23 Jan
Navalny protests: You'll see a lot of video/images & spin today (from both sides), a lot of it selectively edited/framed/angled. Think raw numbers of protesters (vs. size of cities) most interesting metric of support levels for the jailed opposition figure. Will keep count here.
Note that in vast majority of cities, (to varying degrees, depending on local police/political attitudes), Navalny supporters are likely to face arrest. The rallies are illegal (they have no permits & most regions have a legal ban on mass gatherings, due to the Covid pandemic)
Taking figures, where possible, from @kommersant, a respected Moscow newspaper which is slightly opposition leaning, but not virulently anti-Kremlin, by any means.

State news agencies will likely underestimate, and opposition outlets will overestimate. That's the usual pattern
Read 25 tweets
21 Jan
In a landmark judgement, after 12 years of legal proceedings, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia cannot be held responsible for alleged human rights violations that occurred during the 2008 war with Georgia, rejecting Tblisi's claims…
Astonishing to see how resident Guardian conspiracy theorist @LukeHarding1968 twists this: If you read the judgement - court said that ethnic Georgians who left during war were not allowed back in after it ended. That's not "ethnic cleansing." This is parallel universe stuff.
ECHR absolved Russia of blame for what happened during the war, but blamed Moscow for events after the war, saying it's culpable as had established control over area. However, no actual Russian troops were blamed. It's more about who had control over the area when it happened.
Read 4 tweets
21 Jan
"Decades-old tweets?" Incredible to see the revisionism around Navalny since he became a household name in the West.

This is from last October (2020), in @derspiegel. He was talking about why he was expelled from the liberal Yabloko Party (because of his far-right views). Image
It is possible to say Navalny is a prominent political figure in Russia, and the country's leading investigative journalist, without having to pretend his nationalist views were some "youthful folly." He made the anti-Muslim videos in his 30s, mind you, not as a teenager.
Here is a 2017 @guardian interview where Navalny was given a chance to renounce his far-right views (which was presumably what his interviewer hoped he would do). Instead, he chose to double down on them. Image
Read 6 tweets

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