(Note: The clip above is a discussion of the global financial crisis that was posted on President Dmitry Medvedev’s video blog last fall.)
This week’s summit of the so-called BRIC countries in Yekaterinburg, Russia was meant to celebrate the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China as emerging economies and major players on the world stage. It is a bit ironic then, that this meeting was held in Russia, given the current state of that country’s economy.
Perhaps no country has been hit harder by the financial crisis. After growing at an average annual rate of 7% between 1997 and 2008, Russia’s economy contracted 9.5% in the first quarter, and is likely to run a budget deficit of at least 7.5% this year.
To make up for the shortfall, Russia has had to spend down its foreign currency reserve holdings, which have fallen to $406.6 billion from a high of $598.1 billion less than one year ago. Russia will also likely be compelled to resume borrowing on international markets for the first time since its sovereign default in 1998.
The sudden drop in oil and natural gas prices has exposed the limits of an economic model predicated on hydrocarbon exports.
The Russian economy is clearly at a crossroads. To remain a great power over the long-term, it must modernize its economy, a task made difficult by Russia’s declining labor force and dysfunctional political system.
To explore whether and how Russia’s economy will emerge from the crisis, the New America Foundation is hosting an event on Monday, June 22 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. The event will feature the release of a new McKinsey Global Institute report, “Lean Russia: Sustaining Economic Growth Through Improved Productivity.”
The event will feature McKinsey & Company Moscow Office Director Yermolai Solzhenitsyn, McKinsey Global Institute Chairman Lenny Mendonca, New America Foundation/Global Strategic Finance Initiative Director Douglas Rediker, and Akin Gump Senior International Advisor Toby T. Gati.
Steve Clemons will moderate the discussion, which will stream live here at The Washington Note.
— Ben Katcher