Inflation, unemployment rise sharply in Russia

By Jared M. Feldschreiber

MOSCOW, July 10 (UPI) -- Russian inflation rose sharply and unemployment increased dramatically in July, indicating that the economic sanctions and its offensive on the border of Ukraine is taking its toll domestically.

The Russian Finance Ministry reported this week that inflation rose to 15.5 percent in July, and unemployment increased by 14 percent.


AutoVAZ, one of Russia's top car manufacturers, stopped its production indefinitely, The Daily Beast reported this week.

The Russian government, under President Vladimir Putin, is asserting more control over its ruble currency in response to the fallout from the Greek debt crisis and other world economic maladies.

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The Kremlin is succeeding at keeping the ruble within an "acceptable corridor" while maintaining its reserves and positive trade balance, Putin told a BRICS summit meeting in Russia on Thursday, Bloomberg Business reported.

Russia's economy reportedly shrank by 2.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015.

Russian economic experts acknowledge the challenges in light of drops within the market, which have plagued Russian assets abroad like in China.


"It's probably premature to say that all of the risks have already been minimized and we'll soon be enjoying at least a period of recovery," Deputy Economy Minister Nikolay Podguzov said Thursday at a St. Petersburg banking conference.

A host of problems continue to adversely affect Russia's economy, largely stemming from severe economic sanctions leveled against the country by the European Union and the United States. The Russian ruble also hit the lowest exchange rate to the euro and the dollar in 2015, mostly due to low oil prices.

The Kremlin is suffering its first economic reduction since 2009, and fallen energy prices have restricted its options abroad. Internally, corruption was so rampant in 2014 that it ranked 136th on the Transparency International's 2014 index of countries, alongside Lebanon, Nigeria, Cameroon and Kyrgyzstan, The Daily Beast reported.

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Putin hosted the BRICS meeting and Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Ufa, Russia, this week in an effort to stimulate trade and cooperation with emerging economies and kickstart the country's sphere of influence overseas.

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