This year, some parts of the former Soviet Union saw its first war since 2008. The consequences and costs were being felt in wallets, homes and governments in Russia and around the world. In this Reporter’s Notebook, CCTV America’s Tom Barton reported the story of Russia’s economy in 2014.
In late 2013, no one could have predicted that so much would happen in Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet Union or that it would go so far.
It’s a bit like a movie about a haunted house. You start the movie, and you know that there are all sorts of demons under the floorboards, in the cellar, in the attic. You keep hoping that they won’t come out. But in 2014, Russia and the rest of the world has gotten the scare of its life. All the demons have come out.
Street protests in Ukraine were sparked when former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich ditched a trade and association deal with the European Union under immense pressure from Moscow.
The world was horrified, when in February more than 100 protesters were killed. Yanukovich fled power soon after.
In March, Russia sent troops into Crimea, annexing the Ukrainian peninsula, sparking international condemnation and the first sanctions brought against Moscow.
In April, pro-Russia militants began taking over government buildings in eastern Ukraine, which descended into warfare that has killed over 4,300 people and displaced around a million.
When Malaysia airlines flight MH17 was downed over pro-Russia militant held territory in July, governments and people around the world pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the militants had shot down the airliner with a Russian supplied anti-aircraft missile. Moscow denied it. Sanctions were ramped up.
As fighting and sanctions continued, the fall in value of the rouble accelerated so much that the Russian currency has now lost over 40 percent of its value against the dollar.
Vladimir Putin’s popularity remained high, according to opinion polls inside Russia. But internationally, his reputation was in tatters. His finance ministry said the economy would go into recession in 2015. With Russia having seen so many changes this year, the central question for 2015 remains whether the country’s news economic pains will be enough to convince its leader to change his policy.
Saruhan Hatipoglu from BERI talked about Russian economy
CCTV America’s Philip Yin spoke with Saruhan Hatipoglu, the CEO of Business Environment Risk Intelligence. He explained what President Vladimir Putin’s next move should be.