March 01, 2009

After the Crisis

the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos was “Shaping the Post-Crisis World.” Since Russia has been among the hardest hit by the crisis so far, it is a subject to which it should be giving some urgent thought.

The Russian government – along with most oil market analysts – is certain that oil will eventually return to its “right” price. Not $140 per barrel perhaps, and surely not the $200 those same analysts predicted only a few months ago, but at least to $70-80.

When this happens – ushering in, at least for Russia, the wonderful post-crisis world – many people believe that Russia should try to avoid the errors of the past, when it exported energy, metals and other commodities, while importing consumer goods and food. The government should be building up domestic manufacturing, which would make Russia less reliant on foreign producers and therefore more stable.

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