Putin ‘under pressure’ as Russia’s economy nosedives

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Russia’s economy has “significantly deteriorated” since the beginning of 2023 as sanctions bite deeper, cranking up the pressure on Vladimir Putin, a Ukrainian government adviser has said. Vladyslav Vlasiuk, who works for the Office of the President of Ukraine, was speaking after preliminary data published by Russia’s Ministry of Finance last week indicated the amount of revenue from oil and gas in April is likely to be more than £1.1billion below expectations.

Putin is heavily dependent on the cash to fund his war on Ukraine – and Mr Vlasiuk said the shortfall could be attributed to the impact of sanctions imposed by the West since he ordered his invasion on February 24, 2022.

He told Express.co.uk: “The Russian economy has significantly deteriorated since the start of this year. The Russian ruble is now among the world’s weakest currencies.”

According to the Kyiv School of Economics, Russia’s revenues from oil and gas fell by 43 percent in the first quarter of 2023, with the deficit close to an eye-watering £40billion.

He added: “Furthermore, the automotive industry declined by over 60 percent, and the Russian industry outside the defence sector has fallen by almost 10.”

With specific reference to western economies banning exports of Russian oil and gas, Mr Vlasiuk continued: “The effect of sanctions on the Russian economy is evident.

“Russia is finding it considerably challenging to regenerate the revenue lost from the decline of oil and gas sales.

“The last major Western trader is leaving the Russian grain market amidst the growing impact of sanctions.”

Looking to the rest of the year, with Putin desperate to secure military victories in Ukraine almost 14 months after the start of the war, Mr Vlasiuk said: “Sanctions are restricting Russia`s capability on the battlefield.

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“We have already observed less than adequate components installed into vehicles and missiles.

“The military campaign is very much dependent on the ability to produce weapons and ammunition – an undertaking that has become a challenge because of the sanctions Russia is subject to.”

Russia’s economic turmoil was also certain to have an impact on its leader, Mr Vlasiuk claimed.

He said: “Of course, the more pressure on the Russian economy, the more pressure on Vladimir Putin.

“No one in elite Russia circles are happy about these economic difficulties.

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“Putin’s closest allies are struggling. Let’s keep the pressure up.”

A statement issued by the finance ministry on April 5 said: “The expected volume of additional oil and gas revenues of the federal budget is projected in April 2023 in the amount of -113.6 billion rubles.

“The deviation of actually received oil and gas revenues from the expected monthly volume of oil and gas revenues in March 2023 amounted to RUB 39.0 billion.

“Thus, the total amount of funds allocated for the sale of foreign currency is 74.6 billion rubles.

“Operations will be carried out from April 7, 2023 to May 5, 2023, respectively, the daily volume of foreign currency sales will amount to the equivalent of 3.7 billion rubles.”

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