Articles by Martin Gilman



Can Russia's Economy Recover in 2016? (Op-Ed)

A year ago it seemed that the Russian economy was in free-fall. Despite everything, 2015 saw the economy stabilize. But what about next year?

Structural Decline or a Cyclical Trough?

Contrary to earlier expectations, the Russian economy has been a surprising disappointment in terms of growth so far this year. As we can appreciate, Kremlin officials are beginning to feel a sense of panic.

The Stage-Managed St. Petersburg Photo Op

In St. Petersburg last weekend, Russia hosted a meeting of leaders from the 20 largest economies in the world, the Group of 20, as well as other invited leaders and the heads of international organizations.

No Threat of Recession, But Few Are Cheering

There has been considerable hand-wringing about Russian economic performance and prospects in recent months. Rumors have been circulating of a recession in the fall or even of a new full-blown crisis.

Like It or Not, Russia Is a Global Financial Power

Sometimes a slight, even if it results from an error of omission, can have unintended consequences.

Nabiullina Will Be Superior Central Bank Head

Last week's announcement by President Vladimir Putin that he was appointing Elvira Nabiullina as the new head of the Central Bank surprised many observers.

The Global Currency War Heats Up in Moscow

Among the finance ministers and entral bank governors converging on Moscow at the end of this week, at least some will really wish they could been elsewhere.

Why Russians and the World Dislike the Ruble

Russians have long had an ambivalent relationship with the ruble. Even now, Russian companies and individuals by and large seem to prefer to save in dollars or euros, carry out large financial operations offshore and minimize their exposure to ruble assets when they can.

Russia Overtakes Portugal and Spain Is Next

Some cliches bear repetition. A relatively recent one, in reference to the global economy, is how the tables have turned. As we know, once relatively poor countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China have been growing rapidly relative to the so-called advanced economies and have also become the main drivers of global growth, especially once they had bounced back from the financial crisis that began four years ago.  

How Politics and Perceptions Trump Economics

If you were to measure the recent economic performance of the world's major countries say, those that comprise the Group of 20 you might be surprised to find Russia among the top performers by most common metrics.

New Government Faces Old Problems

A longstanding platitude shared by both the Kremlin as well as domestic and foreign analysts is the need for Russia to diversify its economy away from energy dependence and reduce its non-oil budget deficit.

Putin's Pipedreams Recycled

In the days following the inauguration of President-elect Vladimir Putin on May 7, he will appoint a new government under future Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Why Putin Should Keep His Old Team for Now

In many countries the post-election transition period between governments can be fraught with uncertainty, as seasoned politicians and political appointees cede the reins of power to inexperienced replacements.

Europe's Debt Problems Cannot Be Ignored

The echoes of Russia's debt default in 1998 which is now, fortunately, of mere historical interest as seen from Moscow seem to reverberate worryingly in Europe.

Economics and Politics Don't Mix

Clearly economics is a social science. Some economists would like to assume laboratory-like conditions. But the period since the implosion of the Lehman Brothers investment bank in September 2008 has been an abject lesson in the risks of treating economics as being scientific at all.

Signs of an Island of Stability for Now

Upon leaving Cannes this past weekend after two days of fruitless discussions at the Group of 20 Summit, President Dmitry Medvedev was no doubt in good company. Along with Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama, they were all probably wondering why they had even bothered to come. As it turned out, the singular focus of the summit, chaired by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, was the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone.

Russias Island of Stability Could Sink Again

It is unlikely that anyone who follows the news is unaware that the global economy has entered "a dangerous new phase" as Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, stressed last month.

Filling Kudrin's Shoes Will Be Hard

Poor Anton Siluanov, Russia's new acting finance minister. Siluanov, following in the footsteps of Alexei Kudrin, who resigned a week ago, is not to be envied. Without his predecessor's expertise and experience, Siluanov may have been handed the proverbial poisoned chalice.

On Inflation, Russia Not Out of the Woods Yet

No one knows yet how and when what Harvard professor Ken Rogoff calls the "great contraction" will end. How can Russia, which is so vulnerable to oil price changes and capital flow surges, try to steer a steady policy course in the face of such uncertainty?

Better a Technocrat at the IMF

It will be interesting to see what role President Dmitry Medvedev decides to play at the Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France. Of the many issues on the crowded G8 agenda, the one that is not even to be formally discussed could show Medvedev's true colors.

A New Member and More Problems for BRICS

As President Dmitry Medvedev sits down with his BRICS counterparts on Thursday at their third annual summit in Sanya, on China's Hainan Island, they will include South Africa's Jacob Zuma for the first time. Other than adding an "S" to their BRIC logo, the question is whether there will be any substance emerging from this seemingly unlikely grouping.

Global Openness Is a Double-Edged Sword

I recently came across an unexpected piece of comparative analysis by a former IMF colleague, Jonathan Anderson. It brought home how Russia's uniqueness is exhibited in a significant way when
contrasted with other countries.And it led me to wonder whether Russia, more than most middle-income countries, was particularly or even uniquely vulnerable to external financial shocks.

Sailing to Portugals GDP Hits Some Turbulence

Most leaders refrain from long-term speculation about their economies for the simple reason that it is hard enough to have a clear idea of growth projections even just a year ahead. In Russias case, however, a long-term goal was articulated, and the leader may still be in place when the time comes due for the final assessment.

Golden Days of Being a Net Saver Are Over

Sometimes through a combination of good policies and some good luck, countries may acquire safety margins as insulation from the financial vicissitudes of the global economy. Unfortunately, Russia's long period of good fortune is rapidly coming to an end.

A Sinking Feeling at the Group of 20 Summit

Even low expectations can be disappointed. President Dmitry Medvedev and the other Group of 20 leaders, who are in Seoul for their fifth summit in two years on Thursday, cannot relish the prospect of a wasted trip and, even worse, of a wasted opportunity.

Russia Muddling Through Uncharted Waters

Over the weekend, the worlds financial leaders met in Washington for the International Monetary Funds annual meeting. There were many pious speeches asserting that with the global economy exhibiting stagflationary features, cooperation was critical.

Inflation Could Trip New Exchange-Rate Crisis

A ruble exchange-rate crisis in two or three years is not inevitable, but if inflation is allowed to accelerate and real interest rates adjusting for the effects of inflation become negative again, an exchange-rate crisis just becomes a question of time.

Summer of Nice Weather and Robust Recovery

As Muscovites ease into summer and head to the dacha, little do they realize that the Russian economy may be shifting beneath their feet. When they return in the fall, they may not recognize where their economy is.

An Indispensable Lesson in Macroeconomics

Russias low-debt economy is an important legacy of its 1998 sovereign debt default. But its ability to avoid debt problems that are crippling other nations is tightly linked to the oil price that sustains the budget.

Learning From Russia to Avoid a Greek Tragedy

A combination of an unsustainable fiscal policy, weak government and some bad luck was enough to provoke the financial markets to abandon Russia in droves some 12 years ago, and a similar set of circumstances seems to be conspiring to erupt in a financial collapse in Greece in the near future.