A prominent European think tank contends that the Russian economy may be entering into a death spiral, driven by a combination of factors, including low energy prices, government mismanagement, a collapse in the Russian ruble’s value and Western sanctions.
Entrepreneurs from Turkey have enjoyed success in Turkmenistan, a market known mostly for natural gas rents and megalomaniacal vanity projects. But for all of their past business achievements, a growing number of Turkish investors are experiencing trouble in Ashgabat’s notoriously fickle business climate.
Amid a spreading climate of fear in Russia, underscored by the late February assassination of Boris Nemtsov, Russians with something to lose are increasingly trying to find safe havens abroad for their assets.
Santa Claus supposedly received a desperate letter from a woman in Armenia this year – a plea for financial help after enduring a year of economic hardship. “I don’t know how to live now,” the woman, a character in a TV ad for the Armenian lottery, complained.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev thinks Kazakhstan can spend its way out of the economic doldrums. Experts, meanwhile, are divided about whether Nazarbayev’s plans represent a bold Roosevelt-style New Deal or a throwback to sluggish Soviet-style economics.
The steep decline in global oil prices is stoking angst in Kazakhstan. Experts and officials alike say the government has ample resources to grapple with fiscal surprises. The real question is whether the political will exists for the government to take necessary measures.
As Western governments mull additional sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion and subsequent annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, Washington and Brussels won’t be the only world capitals watching to see the impact: Should the new restrictions bite into Russia’s economy, they will have a painful trickle-down effect on the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
The escalating turmoil over corruption allegations against Turkey’s political elite is now threatening the ruling Justice and Development Party’s greatest achievement – Turkey’s economic growth. With national elections looming in the future, that threat could affect the party’s 11-plus-year hold on power, some local observers believe.