By Emre G├╝rkan Abay
Russia letter, Jan. 30

-Putin and Trump discuss “cooperation”

 The Russian media, after Trump became the 45th U.S. president sees the first call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as an opportunity for a way out of the most serious crisis in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

While U.S. sanctions against Russia was not discussed during the tele-conversation, both leaders confirmed their determination to work for the restoration of cooperation, particularly on the fight against Daesh.

However, Russian experts comment on the recent statements by the new U.S. administration with cautious optimism.

The experts believe that if both presidents of the two countries find a common language, it will not be easy for Trump to convince members of both parties in the U.S. that the new approach will benefit the United States.

Despite the probable establishment of cooperation with Russia in certain areas, the restoration of confidence and full cooperation with the U.S. could take years, experts claim in Russia.

The Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Fedor Voytolovsky, formulates the dilemma of the Russian-American relations in the Russian daily Kommersant as follows:

"Today, the question is, will the pragmatic businessman Donald Trump's desire and resources continue to invest in the normalization of relations with Russia, his political capital."


-Problems continue for Russian economy

Due to the sanctions and low oil prices, the consumer-weighted economy of Russia continues to suffer. According to Rosstat, Russia’s statistical agency, the retail sector continued to shrink in 2016.

The retail sector in 2016 shrank by 5.2 percent and dropped to 28 trillion rubles on the previous year. However, compared to 2015 when the sector contracted by near 10 percent compared to 2014, the contraction of the retail sector in 2016 looks to be slowing down.

According to many polls in the country, most Russian citizens still prefer “saving” their earnings, rather the “spending” them. The transportation, agriculture and industrial sectors in Russia are seen as the few growing sectors in the country. 

30 Jan,2017