Russia’s Economy Is ‘In The Sh*T’ Says Former Moscow Finance Minister

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Russia's Economy Is 'In The Sh*T' Says Former Moscow Finance Minister

The Russian economy is ‘in the sh*t’ and Vladimir Putin ‘has decided to settle down there,’ according to Moscow’s former economic minister.

In a rare high-level criticism of President Putin’s policies, Andrey Nechayev, 70, blamed Western sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine for Russia’s economic downturn, which he predicted would get even worse next year.

He added that while food franchises like ‘McDonald’s can be replaced by blini [Russian pancakes], high-tech products can’t’, the Times reports.

Nechayev’s comments drew nervous smiles but were nevertheless applauded by attendees at the Ekaterinburg financial forum.

In Putin’s Russia, those who dissent against the Kremlin’s official narrative are routinely decried as ‘foreign agents’ and face arrest and imprisonment. 

Many outspoken critics have found themselves arrested, tortured, and even poisoned for speaking out against Putin, whereas a number of high-profile oligarchs have been killed in a variety of mysterious ‘accidents’ after falling afoul of the Russian leader.

Nechayev was in office from 1992 to 1993, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Addressing the audience at the forum, he pointed to Russia exceeding its budget deficit plan in the first four months of 2023 as one reason for the coming crisis.

He said there are enough reserves to finance the deficit for a year, but then the country would have to resort to borrowing money.

The former minister also added mass emigration, capital outflows, and falling oil and gas revenues would continue to wreak havoc on the Russian economy.

Economists have been surprised by the resilience of the Russian economy, which has proved to be sturdier in the face of western sanctions than expected.

Food is still readily available in Russia, GDP has only been slightly affected and wages are still paid regularly.

Unemployment is also at its lowest rate in 30 years, and Western products withdrawn from the country have been replaced by local ones or imported through Turkey and central Asia.

However, analysts believe the numbers do not tell the full story of Russia’s impending collapse.

There are fewer unemployed Russians because thousands have fled the country, been conscripted into the military or killed in Ukraine.

More than a million workers are also technically employed but on unpaid leave, with Russian opposition leader Vladimir Milov claiming that up to 25% of the manufacturing sector is experiencing a form of ‘hidden unemployment.’

Other Russian sectors heavily reliant on Western technology have been hit hard by the sanctions, such as airlines.

Viktor Basargi, the head of the country’s transportation watchdog, said that more than 2,000 flights in Russia were conducted using planes with expired parts in 2022 alone because they could not be replaced due to the sanctions.

He said it was ‘simply impossible to import certain products’.

Nechayev’s comments are not the first time he has delivered a scatological critique of the Russian economy.

Speaking in April 2022, he said he and his family would stay in Russia as long as there is no direct threat to his freedom. This came at a time when many were fleeing fearing an even more oppressive Kremlin regime and reserves being called to fight.

Speaking at the time, Nechayev said the phrase he repeated at the forum: ‘I have come up with a wonderful formula for everything that is happening in Russia right now. The problem is not that we’re in the sh*t, it’s that we’ve decided to live in it.’

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Mr Priceless
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