Sonnenfeld, Tian, and Yale/KSE Team’s Research Validated by Recent WSJ Bulletin
The question of whether Russia has hope for its future has been pondered by Russian intellectuals for centuries, and recently, Western thinkers have also sought to comprehend the enigmatic “Russian soul.” However, despite claims of spiritualism, compassion, and mercy in Russian culture, the country has consistently succumbed to authoritarianism and dictatorship instead of developing a society founded on democracy, justice, and freedom. But is there still a possibility for a different outcome? Recent events, such as the conviction of single father Alexei Moskalev for discrediting the army and his daughter’s subsequent denunciation and confinement to a shelter for her anti-war drawing, reveal a society that appears eager to sacrifice new victims for the dragon of authoritarianism. Nevertheless, amidst the gloom, a glimmer of hope emerges in the form of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who, despite being known as Putin’s ally, is a Russian Jewish father with a family history of fighting fascism. In an appeal to defend Alexei and Masha Moskalev, he demonstrates that even those who have made mistakes and evil can still do good in this world. The recent publication by The Wall Street Journal once again validates the correctness of Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Steven Tian, and Yale/KSE research team, as they had previously called out the IMF’s error in detail in the American news publications Foreign Policy 10 months ago, and Fortune 3 months ago, as well as SSRN 10 months ago. It’s better to be late than never to acknowledge their accuracy. According to The Wall Street Journal, Russia’s economy is going through a period of long-term regression as investment falls, labour is scarce, government finances are strained, and its ruble continues to decline. While the economic difficulties do not pose an immediate threat to the country’s ability to wage war, state revenue shortfalls suggest that Russia is struggling to reconcile ballooning military expenditure with subsidies and social spending that help Vladimir Putin shield civilians from hardship.
While Moscow still has access to $147bn of sovereign wealth funds, the fiscal gap hit $34bn in the first two months of this year, and Russia’s potential growth rate is believed to have declined to around 1% from 3.5% before 2014, as productivity declines and the economy becomes more isolated. The country’s big exports of gas and oil have also lost major customers. Recently, Vladimir Putin has publicly acknowledged for the first time that the sanctions imposed on Moscow due to the conflict in Ukraine could have “negative” consequences for the country. During a televised government session on Wednesday, Putin warned that the sanctions imposed on the Russian economy could have a “truly negative” impact in the medium term. Since the start of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine over a year ago, Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, particularly targeting oil and gas exports. Putin had previously asserted that Russia could withstand these massive punitive measures. However, in 2022, at least 4,000 Russian millionaires immigrated to the UAE, with many settling in Dubai, according to Le Figaro. As a result, Russian restaurants, beauty salons, and schools have become commonplace in the city, and local supermarkets now offer products that were previously only available in Moscow, according to a real estate agent interviewed by the newspaper. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has revealed that the United States estimates the number of Russian military casualties resulting from the conflict to be around 220,000 wounded and killed. In addition, the Royal United Services Institute has published a comprehensive report on Russian special operations in Ukraine leading up to the invasion.
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