The Russian Economy is in a shambles. Too much of its budget has historically been used to upgrade its military technology, to the detriment of the needs of the Russian People. The Energy Sector accounts for 47.5% of its Economic Production, and it has failed to diversify much of the rest beyond banking and commodities.
The economic sanctions, which were increased by the West in early 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea and began encouraging civil war in Eastern Ukraine, have surely hurt its trade activities. Slumping oil and gas prices during that period, by 35% and 22%, respectively, reduced the Russian access to Dollars. At the same time, the 87% decline of the Ruble, versus the Dollar, has made many imports cost-prohibitive.
Besides the inflation that the weak Ruble has caused, and the scarcity of consumer goods, unemployment has risen, wages have decreased, and there seems to be no relief in sight for the average Russian worker. Russians still make family outings to the malls, which were built during the oil boom; however, many stores are closed, and the shelves are quite empty in those that remain. It’s just something to do during those long Russian winters.
A friendly American President, who seems less inclined to cooperate with an apparently splintering European Union, might cause the sanctions to be eased—either nation by nation, or across-the-board. There has been talk about several European nations initiating more active trade with Russia. Such improved trade options might ease the Russian economy into a somewhat better situation.
Donald Trump, along with many of his Cabinet nominees, seems to be advocates of fossil fuels, and they claim that man-made climate change is a hoax. So far, Mr. Trump has not shown any interest in the Paris Accord. This scenario seems to suggest a reduced interest in alternative energy sources and, thus, an increased demand for gas, oil and coal.
Apparent Secretary of State-Designate Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobil, would certainly be Donald Trump’s go-to guy, with regard to Russia. His so-called personal relationship with Vladimir Putin has been a symbiotic one: Rex was selling and Vlad needed to buy! When the sanctions were increased in 2014, the transfer of vital technology, from Exxon-Mobil to Russia’s Rosneft Oil Company, was blocked. Such a transfer under a Trump Administration, might become more likely, and it would give Exxon-Mobil access to a sector in Russia’s Arctic Region.
We’ll never know, for sure, if Russia helped Donald Trump win the Election; but, Vladimir Putin surely needs Donald’s and Exxon-Mobil’s help now! Trust me!