In the coming year, the Kremlin will have to overcome the consequences of the lesions on several strategic directions in internal and foreign policy.
Political forecast even the next year the case is known to be unreliable. To avoid mistakes, you should consider many components. First, it is necessary to have extensive, including exclusive information. Secondly, you should be able to analyze it. Thirdly, in making such a forecast, it is necessary to take into account the many objective and subjective factors to understand which ones are important and which are secondary. But even with all this, it is possible to sit in a puddle. Because life, as has often been said, is more complex than any ideas about it.
However, nothing prevents us to try to guess the development of the main events in the new year. The most reliable and traditional method — analysis of existing trends of domestic and international life. With regard to the latter, by the end of 2019 to Russia, they decided quite clearly.
But first — the main results of the internal development of the country for the year 2019. Note that the socio-economic results of the year, according to Rosstat, at the end of December was not complete.
According to the forecast of Ministry of economic development of Russia’s GDP by the end of 2019 will increase in the area of 0,8%-1,3%. Call it growth not dare. More stagnant.
Real disposable incomes of Russians in the first three quarters of 2019 was 97.1% compared to the nine months of 2018. This is 1.6% better than the same period in 2018. However, according to the official data of Rosstat, falling real disposable incomes of Russians in the four years from 2014 to 2017, inclusive, totalled 8.6 percent. In 2018 they remained almost at the level of the previous 2017 (100,1%).
Accordingly, even if in the fourth quarter of 2019, the revenue growth for the third quarter will be 119,5% (similar to spike revenues in the fourth quarter over the last six years were just one day in 2015) for the whole year revenues will increase by only 2.7%, which, of course, does not compensate for their reduction in the previous five years.
However, official statistics in Russia is to trust less what “Rosbalt” wrote repeatedly. There are other indirect indicators which show that the relative stabilization (is stabilization, since the increase of 2.7% is within the statistical error) the income situation of the citizens, most likely the result of manipulation of Rosstat ever-changing methods of counting data.
In particular, this is evidenced by a fairly reliable criterion of purchasing power, like retail trade, whose turnover for the year 2019 is likely to show lower growth rates than in 2018. In particular, this was stated by Chairman of the Presidium of the retail companies Association (ACORT) Sergey Belyakov. According to him, the turnover of retail “barely growing” and by the end of 2019 is likely to be 1.3%. In 2020 in the HSE expect even lower growth rates, is almost zero, at 0.6% per year.
Due to lack of funds the Russian leadership has gone to such unpopular measures as raising the retirement age and a new wave of privatization. In 2020 is scheduled to be auctioned unitary state and municipal enterprises — a measure that may and will give some one-time revenues, but in the long term can have more negative than positive effect, as new owners will probably start with the notorious “optimization”, i.e., mass layoffs.
An increase in the minimum wage to 850 rubles (approximate cost of one kilo of boiled sausage in Moscow) in 2020 is unlikely to give comfort to those who are the most least or a little more gets.
2019 was a year unprecedented in the last 11 years of the jump in natural population loss. For 11 months she was 285,7 thousand, and by the end of the year, as we predicted, is likely to exceed 300 thousand we will Remind that in 2018, the decline in Russia was 224,5 thousand. Any “demographic pit” such sharp downturns cannot be explained. This scale of loss in a relatively stable (at least outwardly) a situation can be explained, first and foremost, failures of socio-economic policy of the country’s leadership, resulting in increased mortality and a catastrophic decline in the birth rate.
Such failures in domestic policy more than once in the recent history of Russia was compensated by the intensification of the country’s leadership on the international stage.
Let’s see, what were the results of activities of the Kremlin on the main directions of its foreign policy in 2019.
Ukraine. At the end of the year much expected meeting of the “Normandy” Quartet, which was held in Paris on 9 December. If you consider it from the point of view of the Kremlin, no breakthrough had not occurred. The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, contrary to expectations, drew a very clear red lines: no “exchange” of the Crimea to the Donbass. Accordingly, the self-proclaimed republics DNR and LC — it is also Ukraine. Elections in these “special areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions” can be held only under Ukrainian law, and only after will be restored the control of Kiev over the Ukrainian border, including that part which now in fact is the border between Russia and DNR/LNR.
Any compromise on these issues, neither the Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel nor French President Emmanuel macron, a young Ukrainian leader to persuade failed. Agreement to continue meetings at the highest level between Moscow and Kiev, on the continuation of the exchange of prisoners — case from a humanitarian point of view, of course, good, but principally in Russian-Ukrainian relations, they now do not change anything.
Moreover, in the New year it was officially announced that Russia will pay Ukraine $ 3 billion pursuant to the decision of the international court of justice. I can’t even remember now, when today’s Russia gave the “just so” to anyone such amounts, but still under pressure from foreigners. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak publicly called it “a tough decision”, and Vladimir Zelensky — victory. However, for Moscow, things could be worse. Delay in payment could result in additional billions of dollars in fines.
This defeat of the Kremlin in the new year was partly offset by the conclusion of a new agreement with Ukraine on gas transit. Around this document, as we remember, was also broken a lot of copies, but the result is at once between Moscow and Kiev signed an agreement beneficial to both parties. However, strategically it is probably more in the interests of Ukraine. Attempts to persuade Kyiv at the same time to restore supplies of Russian gas directly to Ukraine (we will remind that to the epic, the Crimea, this country, along with Germany, was one of the two largest buyers of Russian blue fuel), and at very attractive prices for it, the success have not crowned.
Belarus. At the end of this year planned a ceremonial signing of a package of documents on “tight integration” of Russia and Belarus. There was talk that it will, at least, common to the two countries the tax code, and perhaps something more. For example, the single currency in the Russian ruble and, accordingly, the total emission center in Moscow or Saint Petersburg.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised the same prices for oil on the condition that Minsk will go to the most “deep integration”, which in the Russian version implies the creation of supranational political bodies of the Union state. However, the road map of this Association have not been signed, including two personal meetings in December 2019 between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. Thus, the “tight integration” with Belarus, which could be put at the feet of the electorate as the next “brilliant” foreign policy victory of the Kremlin has been postponed again indefinitely.
In the meantime, Russia just stopped deliveries of oil to Belarus, and Lukashenko is trying to look for alternative ways in which fuel could get in his country.
USA. America Russian policy at the end of 2019 received a resounding slap in the form of “a hell of sanctions”, which on Capitol hill voted for both Democrats and Republicans. Stringent action is provided against the companies building the “Nord stream-2”, that has severely retarded the completion of this strategic Russian project. The rate of the Kremlin on the President of Donald trump if possible, then only partly. Information of the American intelligence services, with their Russian colleagues managed to prevent the attack in Saint-Petersburg before the New year, against the background of these new sanctions rather the impression of attempts to sweeten the pill.
Another blow in the ensuing year was the order of the trump on the elimination of influential Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, which caused displeasure in Moscow.
Syria. Another direction of Russian foreign policy — the South looks like now is also not the best way. Periodic reports on the latest massive of Russian air force strikes on Syria likely serve the purpose of interaction between Russian troops and the testing of new types of weapons, but, as before, lead to the deaths of innocent people, and most importantly, of little interest to the Russian mass audience.
Turkey. In this area it is even worse. At the end of December 2019, the head of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last year traveled to Moscow and Sochi on the Hacienda, the same Erdogan, who despite pressure from Washington has purchased Russian s-400, unexpectedly announced that his country would not tolerate the stay in Libya of Russian mercenaries from private military companies. Thus the Kremlin who was already asleep and saw Erdogan (at the moment, Chapter two of the NATO countries by the size of the army) as, at least, a reliable partner in international Affairs, and again received from him a “stab in the back”.
So we see the defeat of the Kremlin practically in all strategic areas both in domestic and in foreign policy. Vladimir Putin, who until the end of 2019 was similar to the wizard games in rapid chess and in such as all the time been one step ahead of their opponents geostrategic partner seem to have hit a strategic dead end, which is his long (albeit unsuccessfully) warned.
In 2020 in all three directions of foreign policy he is likely to act the same as before, but without the former success because everyone used them before political, polemical and information techniques already well known to his opponents. They are ready for them. To go to even greater aggravation and balancing already quite on the verge of a major war — is really risky, and it excites the electorate was not the same as before.
Meanwhile in 2020 will be the two most important for the Kremlin of the international events that he will try to play to the maximum.
The first presidential elections in Belarus to be held in August. We can not exclude that there can be surprises. This is due to the fact that in the Kremlin, the notorious “transit authority” with a high probability linked to “transit” to Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus. At best another, much less significant position…
Putin in the situation in which it is now, can not try on the tooth Belarusian transit-2020. Eventually the chance occurs here only once in five years. However, being prone to risky adventurism, and at the same time, being a very prudent politician, he will act in the Belarusian direction very carefully. If he realizes that Lukashenko is still firmly holds the reins in his hands, then against Belarus will continue the current policy.
The Kremlin most likely will not be able to skip past him and the American presidential election, but I’ll try to not act so openly as in 2016. It is possible that in 2020 Moscow will try to try on the mantle of peacemaker (actually, she already tried to do so in 2019). In any case, with the Smolensk Boulevard has repeatedly been calls to extend the start-3.
The preservation of the Treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, and profitable for Trump, who could present it to their constituents as an important achievement of his first term.
The Ukrainian direction, will naturally remain a priority for Moscow in the coming year. The Kremlin is unlikely to try to radicalise their policies towards Ukraine. Most likely will try to consolidate the current status quo.
Own people, the Kremlin offered to continue to stay cool and not make a fuss. 20 years in fact suffered? And still can be.
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