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Russia’s GDP collapses by 12% in April
Last month, Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) dropped  by 12 percent in annual terms, the Ministry of Economy reported. The economic decline for January-February was estimated at 1.9 percent. According to the Ministry of Economy, the non-working period was introduced in Russia to combat the spread of the coronavirus infection in March 30. The lockdown regime was thus implemented against the backdrop of the generally negative external economic situation and lockdown measures in the countries that usually act as trade partners of the Russian Federation. The demand fell most in the sectors that are primarily focused on consumer demand: The volume of paid services that were provided to the population fell by 37.9 percent%; In March, the same indicator was reported on the level of -5.4 percent; The fall is due to restrictions in the work of companies operating in the field of entertainment and leisure, culture, sports and domestic services, the department noted. According to preliminary estimates, in the first quarter, Russia's GDP grew by 1.6 percent. According to the Ministry of Economy, economic growth made up 1.8 percent. In the second quarter, the department expects a decline of at least 9.5 percent. The Central Bank predicted a decline of eight percent in GDP in the second quarter of 2020, and by 4-6 percent - by the end of the year. International rating agency Fitch expects Russia's GDP to fall by five percent in 2020. Russian economy may not be able to restart after pandemic On Thursday, business ombudsman Boris Titov presented a report to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that the decline in Russia's GDP may reach 5.5 percent in 2020 compared to last year. "Russia has faced a double blow to its economy, in addition to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive measures. The sharp drop in oil prices and other resources has affected the economy considerably too. As a result of the negative consequences that the spread of the coronavirus infection COVID-19 has shown on the economy, the fall in oil prices, as well as due to the absence of active and large-scale stimulating policies, it is expected that the decline in Russia's GDP in 2020 (-5.5%) will be greater than the global average indicator (-3%)," the report says. The results of Russia's economic development over the past ten years have led to insignificant growth in GDP and investment in fixed assets, while the real disposable income of the population before the coronavirus crisis was on a low level. "Therefore, despite the fact that the projected decline in GDP to -5.5 percent does not seem so significant, it will be a dramatic decline for the Russian economy," the report from the business ombudsman said. The Russian economy faced the current crisis after a decade of stagnation, in contrast to the crisis of 2008-2009. Since 2008, Russia's GDP has grown by eleven percent, while the world average cumulatively increased by 45 percent (70 percent - in developing countries).
(Fri, 29 May 2020 20:22:00 +0300)

Putin announces new date for Victory Parade
Victory Parade on Red Square will take place on June 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on May 26. "We will do it the day when the legendary historical parade of the victors took place, when fighters who fought near Moscow and defended Leningrad, who fought near Stalingrad, who liberated Europe, stormed Berlin, - when they marched across Red Square," Putin said. Putin instructed to begin preparations for the event. Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu will be in charge to ensure the most stringent security mode on June 24 to minimize all possible risks.
(Tue, 26 May 2020 16:03:00 +0300)

Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov discharged from hospital
Dmitry Peskov, an official spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, was discharged from hospital. "Yes, that's true," Peskov told reporters. His wife, Olympic champion in figure skating Tatyana Navka, confirmed the information as well. The family is alright, Navka said, adding that they would be quarantined for about a week.
(Mon, 25 May 2020 20:54:00 +0300)

Experts predict string of quarantines in Russia before 2021
Russia is going to see four scenarios with the development of the coronavirus pandemic. The most probable one of them is described as push-and-pull: repeated waves of morbidity and a string of quarantines until 2021. Experts at the international consulting company Boston Consulting Group (BCG) believe that according to one of the four scenarios, the virus would be stopped, and the crisis would be limited to only one wave. In this case, the country will lose 4-6% of GDP. Non-food retail businesses and services would be suspended as a result of the lockdown, which may last for about two months in each region. Businesses will recover quickly after the lockdown ends. However, many small businesses will close, which will increase the level of unemployment. Under the critical recession scenario, Russia will lose 10-15% of GDP. The virus crisis will last longer, and the country will see stringent quarantine measures. Industrial production and construction will stop, which will lead to a decrease in demand for resources, primarily hydrocarbons and steel. A large-scale liquidity crisis will begin throughout the Russian economy, which will put an excessive burden on the banking system. Another scenario would be similar to the period, in which Russia found herself in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. In this scenario, the world will see long-term recession in global economy, but BCG experts do not see any prerequisites for it. In the most plausible scenario of quarantine cycles, Russia's GDP will decline by 7-10% compared to 5%, which the Central Bank and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov predicted. Bursts of morbidity are possible before the end of 2021, because the coronavirus vaccine will be released no earlier than in late 2020. A long lockdown will lead to numerous bankruptcies in small and medium-sized businesses. In this scenario, the government will be opening and closing the economy depending on the incidence rate. Long-term lockdown will lead to further decline in the sector of services and retail, a drop in demand for real estate and a decrease in production and wholesale trade.
(Fri, 22 May 2020 18:24:00 +0300)

Putin’s official spokesman develops bilateral pneumonia
Dmitry Peskov, official spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was hospitalized with confirmed Covid-19 infection on May 12, has developed bilateral pneumonia. In an interview with the Kommersant publication, Peskov said employees of the presidential administration get tested for the coronavirus infection on a daily basis.  "I had a feeling that I keep it under control. Then, unfortunately, one of my colleagues, with whom I earlier spoke, fell ill and I had to go into self-isolation mode after May 1,” the Kremlin representative said. Peskov continued getting tested, and one of the tests was confirmed positive. According to Peskov, he had no symptoms on the first day, but then "unpleasant" body temperature rose to over 37 degrees and he developed bodily pains. 
(Thu, 14 May 2020 16:35:00 +0300)

Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov hospitalized with coronavirus
Dmitry Peskov, an official spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, was infected with coronavirus.  “Yes, I’m sick, I’m undergoing treatment,” Peskov said. Peskov became the fourth high-ranking official who became infected with the coronavirus. The first was the Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin, then the head of the Ministry of Construction Vladimir Yakushev and the Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova.
(Tue, 12 May 2020 15:55:00 +0300)

Russian Prime Minister Mishustin tested positive for coronavirus
Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin has contracted coronavirus infection. The head of the Russian government has temporarily resigned. Mishustin, who was diagnosed with Covid-19, suggested appointing first Vice Prime Minister Andrey Belousov acting head of the Russian government. President Putin supported the initiative and promised to sign the adequate decree today, April 30. Mikhail Mishustin will spend the next two weeks in self-isolation.
(Thu, 30 Apr 2020 20:32:00 +0300)

Putin extends isolation as Russia ranked 8th in Covid-19 cases
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new extension of “non-working days” that were declared nationwide in order to combat the spread of coronavirus infection COVID-19. Without waiting for the expiration of the previous deadline (April 30), Putin announced that all days through May 11 would be non-working days in Russia.  Traditionally, Russians celebrate May holidays from May 1 till May 9 with just a few working days between them. Many prefer to take a few days off to spend a full-fledged ten-day vacation to spend it either abroad or working in gardens.  Putin explained the need to prolong the tough measures to combat COVID-19 with the fact that the epidemic in Russia has not reached its peak yet. 
(Tue, 28 Apr 2020 18:54:00 +0300)

Moscow will not see Victory Parade this year
Russian President Putin ordered to postpone the Victory Parade this year. "Coronavirus-related risks do not give me the right to prepare for V-Day celebrations," Putin said at a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on Thursday, April 16. All mass events in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Victory over fascism should be postponed, Putin said.
(Thu, 16 Apr 2020 19:34:00 +0300)

Putin considers using Armed Forces to combat Covid-19
Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin admitted that it could be possible to use "opportunities" and "reserves" of the Ministry of Defense in the fight against the spread of coronavirus in Russia. Representatives of the ministry said, however, that they estimate the situation with the coronavirus infection in the armed forces as "unstable." As of March 30, three Russian military personnel were confirmed positive for COVID-19 infection, at least 133 more people remain under medical observation due to their contacts with the infected. The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation decided not to cancel the spring draft and intends to recruit 135,000 conscripts, although they are not going to be sent to military troops in the near future. The epidemiological situation in the Russian armed forces is unstable, an unnamed source said. The ministry has prepared nearly 5,000 beds at 32 military hospitals, 11 of which "are ready for work within four hours under strict anti-epidemic conditions."  Forty-nine mobile sanitary-epidemiological groups were also set up for an operational response. The Ministry has 2 million medical disposable masks, 15,000 respirators, 100 insulating transport capsules, 10,000 disposable suits for infectious disease specialists, 3,000 medical protective suits of the Quartz type and continues purchasing necessary items.
(Tue, 14 Apr 2020 14:00:00 +0300)

Covid-19: Moscow is officially closed
Next week, due to complications of the epidemiological situation, Moscow is introducing a system of passes for moving around the city, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a televised address to Muscovites. "At the first stage, we will introduce the system of passes for trips to work. For the second stage - for trips for other purposes, and for the third stage - if necessary - the system will be introduced for movement within districts. We will announce additional dates for the introduction of each stage," Sobyanin said. The activity of most Moscow-based companies will be limited for a week. Governing bodies, law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, transport, communications, mass media and healthcare institutions will continue working as usual. Сonstruction (repair) works will be suspended in the city. On April 13-19, car-sharing and partly taxi services will be suspended a well. The epidemiological situation in Moscow has been aggravating this week. The number of Covid-19 tests has grown dramatically.
(Fri, 10 Apr 2020 20:57:00 +0300)

Covid-19 changes life in Russia unrecognizably
Most Russians (80%) started going out less or stopped doing it completely as coronavirus continues spreading in Russia. An opinion poll conducted by WCIOM All-Russian Research Fund, showed that the number of Russians who leave their homes for a walk has dropped twice. As many as 76% of respondents admitted that they started going to grocery stores or pharmacies a lot less frequently. The absolute majority of respondents refused from personal meetings with friends and acquaintances - 84%.
(Fri, 10 Apr 2020 19:57:00 +0300)

Russia’s oil output goes 17 years back
The terms of the agreement between OPEC and other oil exporters, approved on April 9, will take oil production in Russia back to levels 17 years ago. Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut production by 2.5 million barrels, while 11 million barrels per day were chosen as the starting point. In this regard, Moscow will remove 1.8 million starting from May, while Riyadh will cut its production by 1.3 million. The last time, when Russia was extracting smaller amounts of oil, was reported in 2003. Back then, the annual volume was 421 million tons of oil, which accounts for the average of 8.45 million barrels per day. Such levels should last for two months. Afterwards, from July to December, it will be possible to extract nine million, and after 16 months - 9.5 million. To approve the deal, Mexico's consent is required. The negotiators tried to get Mexico to reduce its oil output by 400,000 barrels, but the country agreed to only 100,000. In addition, USA's refusal to take more serious measures to reduce production may cause the deal to fall apart. At the moment, Washington wants to stop at a gradual decline in production at the expense of unprofitable deposits without assuming any obligations. Russia and Saudi Arabia are opposed to this position of the United States, as this will enable US-based companies to immediately put additional raw materials on the market should demand grow.
(Fri, 10 Apr 2020 17:49:00 +0300)

Putin confident of Russia’s triumphant victory over coronavirus
On Wednesday, April 8, Vladimir Putin arranged a large video conference with the leaders of constituent entities of the Russian Federation (governors). In the opening speech, Putin addressed Russian citizens and urged people to observe the restrictions that were imposed in connection with the pandemic of coronavirus. He also announced a number of new social support solutions. "Dear friends! I understand that many of you are tired, that it is sickening to stay within four walls, but there is no other choice. We have to overcome the self-isolation regime," Putin said. He also assured that the fight against the disease will end with another triumph for Russia.
(Wed, 08 Apr 2020 19:02:00 +0300)

Russia to reschedule May 9 Victory Parade because of Covid-19
The administration appealed to the government with a request to refrain from inviting people over 65, including veterans of the Great Patriotic War, to celebrations devoted to the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany. The presidential administration confirmed that the appeal was indeed sent to the government over the apprehension for the novel coronavirus to spread among older individuals. "We herewith ask federal executive authorities to refrain from arranging the participation of individuals 65 years of age and older, including WWII veterans, in anniversary events on May 9, including in Moscow," the appeal reads.
(Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:34:00 +0300)

Russia and Saudi Arabia finally ready to discuss oil production again
After oil prices collapses, Saudi Arabia convened an emergency OPEC+ meeting to agree on a new "fair" oil production cut with Russia and other large oil-producing countries, US President Donald Trump said. It appears that the parties are now ready to sit down at the negotiating table again. It took them a little less than a month to do so. During the OPEC + meeting, which took place on March 6 in Vienna, Russia proposed to keep the current production level, while Saudi Arabia insisted on an additional reduction due to the spread of the coronavirus infection. As a result, the deal ceased to exist on April 1, the Saudis announced a sharp increase in oil supplies and launched a price war, which caused oil prices to fall to $25 per barrel or even lower. On April 2, Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of the countries participating in the OPEC+ deal to reach a fair agreement on balancing the market, SPA, the state-run publication of the Kingdom reported. Markets rise in expectations US President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter page that he had talked to "his friend" Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who, in turn, had had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump set out a hope that the parties would again agree to cut production by ten million barrels or even more, which would entail highly positive consequences for the industry.
(Thu, 02 Apr 2020 22:35:00 +0300)

Putin announces one month of quarantine in Russia
On Thursday, April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the second time in eight days, addressed the nation in connection with the epidemic of coronavirus. At the moment, there are 3,548 cases of coronavirus in 76 regions of the country; the virus has claimed the lives of 30 people. In the course of the address, the president announced all of April a non-working month across Russia. The decision aims to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. The peak of the epidemic in the world has not been passed yet, and Russia is not an exception, Putin said, adding that the number of non-working days could be changed, depending on the situation. The first priority for the authorities is to preserve jobs and salaries for the people, the president said. Putin also announced the need to introduce tougher measures in Russian regions. Local governments will be provided with additional powers as per the need to introduce tough restrictions for the struggle with coronavirus. He also ordered regional authorities to restrict the movement of individuals and vehicles, except transportation between regions.
(Thu, 02 Apr 2020 18:09:00 +0300)

Putin stops shaking hands, switches to remote work
Russian President Vladimir Putin has switched to remote work after Denis Protsenko, the head physician of the Kommunarka hospital, where Covid-19 patients are hospitalized, was diagnosed with coronavirus. On March 24, Putin talked to him without a mask during a visit to the hospital and then shook his hand. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Rospotrebnadzor chair Anna Popova also contacted the infected doctor. They all talked to the doctor without masks and shook his hand. On Wednesday, Putin held his first remote meeting with ministers. The meeting was an open video conference devoted to the development of the agricultural sector.
(Wed, 01 Apr 2020 21:00:00 +0300)

Putin empowers government to introduce state of emergency
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the government a right to introduce a state of emergency and high alert either across the country or in a part of it. The head of state signed the relevant law. The explanatory note states that the law was prepared to resolve relations arising from the need to urgently respond to challenges associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus. The government has thus received the right, in the event of a threat or in the event of separate emergencies to exercise the powers of the coordinating body of the unified state system for the prevention and liquidation of emergency situations. Earlier, however, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin was not discussing a possibility of introducing a state of emergency in Russia because of the spread of coronavirus.
(Wed, 01 Apr 2020 19:56:00 +0300)

Doctor, who talked to Putin, diagnosed with coronavirus infection
Denis Protsenko, the chief physician of the hospital in the settlement of Kommunarka near Moscow, was diagnosed with coronavirus. It was said that Mr. Protsenko remains in satisfactory condition. Denis Protsenko wrote on his Facebook page that he "feels quite well." "I have isolated myself in my office, where I have all conditions for working remotely. I think that the immunity system that I have developed over this month is doing its job," he wrote. On March 24, Protsenko accompanied President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the hospital in Kommunarka, where Covid-19 patients are treated. Putin was wearing a special yellow protective suit to enter some of the rooms of the hospital. However, when talking to Protsenko, the president was wearing a regular tracksuit and no protection at all. Protsenko then warned the head of state about the possible development of the "Italian scenario" in Russia that could entail a large number of infected patients and victims. Putin feels fine Putin's official spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that the president takes regular tests. "Putin gets tested regularly. Everything is fine," Peskov said. Denis Protsenko is the chief freelance specialist in anesthesiology and intensive care at the Moscow Department of Health. Prior to the creation of the Center for Infectious Diseases in Kommunarka, he worked as an assistant professor at the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the Russian Research University named after N.I. Pirogov.
(Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:52:00 +0300)