The weakness of the Kremlin is visible more clearly.

The fact that Vladimir Putin after a telephone conversation with a colleague Donald trump so quickly was ready to participate in the reduction of oil production with OPEC and other oil producers, says a lot. A month before he gave a hard failure of Saudi Arabia, thereby causing the unprecedented decline of prices from 66 to 22 dollars per barrel of Brent crude oil, when Riyadh, angry, flooded the oil market, writes the German newspaper Die Welt (translated –

Maybe he just underestimated the Saudis. As coronavirus. For a long time, the Kremlin pretended that he was not alarmed, and remained calm. On 17 March, Putin said in Crimea that everything is under control.

Meanwhile in Russia — as in many other countries — all falls down. More precisely, unlike most countries, it is even worse. It becomes clear that Russia is faced with an incredible impact.

First, the economy, including due to Western sanctions and the resulting isolation, in recent years virtually stagnated with growth of about 1.3%.

Secondly, caused by a coronavirus a global downturn even more dragging Russia down. Putin reacted, and requested, among other things, until may 18 to provide direct financial support to small and medium businesses while maintaining at least 90% of employees. In addition, he announced that small and medium-sized companies during the crisis will receive more aid from the state. But due to the rapidly increasing number of cases were introduced stringent measures of isolation. The head of the Kremlin has declared the entire APR non-working month.

How much Putin is willing to allocate to support the economy? This is probably due to the oil revenues. But here lies another problem: this is important for Russia oil price, despite the deal with OPEC, it will still be below 42 dollars necessary for the country to a balanced budget. Because of dumping by Saudi Arabia, the Russians are getting for their crude oil Urals, which is important for the budget, for 8-9 dollars a barrel less than Brent. But now the price of oil fell below 29 dollars, that is, Urals, Russia receives half of the cost budgeted.

Russia is in a difficult position, it produces significantly less, and prices are still low, said the chief economist of Oxford Economics Evgenia Sleptsova in Russian newspaper RBC.

Oil, environment and coronavirus, and the Russian leadership is in shock. Initially, the response to the pandemic was very indecisive. And yet on March 25, Putin announced about the first week off for the country, and soon after made hours all of April. And, in the end, closed the border. But with regard to the financial resources to fight the crisis, Putin was noticeably more restrained than Western countries, and even more indecisive than during the crisis of 2008-2009.

Not to say that the Kremlin did nothing. At the moment there are over 32 thousand infected. But the Kremlin initially allocated 1.2% of GDP against the grave consequences of quarantine, while Western European countries and the United States quickly rushed into battle with one-tenth of GDP or even more. And this is due to the need for Putin to save because of the shock from the recent crises. But this he caused a misunderstanding and even anger managers and economic experts. So, a few days ago a range of renowned Russian economists has attracted the attention of the open call for increased support measures to at least 4-6% of GDP, and, if necessary, up to 10%.

The state does not want as follows to support the economy and provide the company themselves, took a cynical stance, said a former Vice-Chairman of the Central Bank, Professor of Economics, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Moscow exchange Oleg Vyugin. This view is shared and typically reserved Western representatives of the country’s economy. According to a survey by the German-Russian chamber of Commerce, from more than 900 companies, two-thirds satisfied with anti-crisis management, but 85% thus consider measures to support the economy insufficient.

The drama of the situation seems to be gradually comes to the government and the Kremlin. The pool of economists in his address noted that the downturn in the global economy of 3%, according to the IMF forecast, will lead to a drop in Russia’s GDP to 8.6%.

In 2009, Putin for the first time benefited from the fact that his then Minister of Finance, is known internationally Alexei Kudrin in the prosperous years following the example of Norway has sent the excess revenues from oil sales in the state Fund. These funds greatly helped the international monetary reserves of the country in the summer of 2008 to reach a record 598 billion dollars, before in 2009 they had dropped to 376 billion — a figure as low as later, in 2015, a year of recession after the annexation of Crimea.

Since then, Russia has again disciplined savings. Foreign exchange reserves now amount to 565 billion dollars. In the state Fund accumulated volume in the amount of 8.5% of GDP.

But Putin has two other tools that he can use. First, the key rate of the Central Bank, which in the past decade, while smoothing inflation was successfully improved, is still high at 6%. Central Bank can quickly lower in order of stimulation.

In addition, Putin has more than 15 years ago have significantly reduced the national debt. At the moment it is about 15% of GDP. About this indicator most countries can only dream of. If Putin wanted to, he could take the money in large volume. But he is indecisive.