Putin’s Rosy Economic Rhetoric Crumbles as Ruble Faces Sharp Decline
Moscow, October 6, 2023 – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia’s economy was “stable” has been met with skepticism as the Russian ruble experienced a significant drop against the US dollar just one day after his statement.
On Friday, the Russian currency plummeted to as low as 101.46 rubles to the dollar during morning trading, although it later managed to recover some of its losses, according to AFP reports.
This decline pushed the ruble past the psychological threshold of 100 to the dollar on the Moscow financial exchange, a level it briefly touched in August before experiencing a brief recovery.
The ruble’s downward trend resumed late on Thursday, coinciding with Putin’s address at the Valdai political conference held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
During his speech, Putin declared, “We have overcome all the problems that emerged after the implementation of sanctions against us, and we have started a new stage of development.” He added, “The overall situation is stable.”
However, Western nations had imposed a series of sanctions against Russia, prompting many foreign companies to leave in the aftermath of Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine back in February 2022. Russia also grapples with challenges such as high inflation, labor shortages, falling oil prices, and a significant brain drain.
The central bank has expressed expectations of economic growth slowing down in the second half of the year, raising concerns about the actual stability of the Russian economy.
Putin’s speech at the Valdai political conference included controversial statements related to Russia’s investigation into the death of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and his crew, following their plane crash in Russia in August.
In a twist, Putin suggested that those on board the plane were under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and detonated hand grenades, asserting that the plane was not shot down on his orders.
Putin criticized investigators for not conducting alcohol and drug tests on Prigozhin and the nine other crash victims. He also alleged that five kilograms of cocaine were discovered at the Wagner offices after the mercenary group’s brief rebellion.