– Obama ‘misinformed’ about Russia economy: Analyst (PressTV, Dec 29, 2014):
A political economist says US President Barack Obama is “misinformed” about the state of the Russian economy, arguing that the country is not as dependent on oil and gas as the West claims.
In a recent interview with NPR News aired on Monday, Obama took credit for a decline in the value of the Russian currency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies, Obama said, have not been “so smart,” since sanctions have proved devastating to the Russian economy.
“The president of the United States is misinformed about the economy of Russia,” Jon Hellevig told Press TV from Moscow. “The US president thinks that Russia doesn’t produce anything and it only lives off of oil and gas.”
“It’s true that oil and gas are important, very important for the Russian economy and brings prosperity, but in 2013, oil and gas made up only 16 percent of the GDP,” he continued. “So Russia has a lot of economic life beyond oil and gas.”
He went on to say that the dropped value of the ruble is in no way “a catastrophe” for the Russian economy.
“We still have unemployment (rate) at 5 percent. Where do these people work? They work in a lot of sectors of the economy,” Hellevig noted. “The economy is pretty vibrant and people are in a good mood.”
“Of course, some people suffer from the devaluation (of the ruble), but for most people it’s neutral, and for many it’s very good, because with lower oil prices, you get the same money in ruble value in state budget, so Russia doesn’t have to cut its budget at all,” he contended.
In an article recently published by Russia Insider, Hellevig called out the West’s false “charade” regarding the Russian economy. He argued that far from relying on oil and gas, Moscow is engaged in big investments in all sectors of the economy, including aviation, shipbuilding, manufacturing and technology.