By Emre Gürkan Abay
Russia Letter – Moscow – April 5

- Echo of “Panama Papers” in Russia

 Russia started this week with the release of the “Panama Papers,” in Western media outlets. The papers claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close friends, including musician Sergei Roldugin, godfather to his daughter Maria, made millions from offshore deals.

The Kremlin claimed that the organization - the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who prepared the story was trying to implement a smear campaign against the president.

While the Russian media was mostly silent on the developments on the leaks relating to Putin and friends, the stories in Russia mostly focused on the leaks on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The leaked documents suggested that he had set up an offshore company as a tax haven using Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca.

- Russian domestic tourism problems

According to Russian Federal Tourism Agency head, Oleg Safonov, due to excessive demand by Russian tourists, capacity has been fully reached in domestic holiday resorts like Krasnodar and the Crimean regions while further demand will be hard to meet.

Russia has banned tour package sales and charter flights to Turkey due to the crisis between the two countries while flights to Egypt - another favorite holiday resort for Russians - have also been suspended due to the plane crash in Egypt which carried Russian citizens.

Egypt and Turkey constituted 38 percent of tour package sales in Russia in 2015.

- Russian markets troubled by oil decrease

Meanwhile, due to the oil price drop to $38.5 per barrel levels, Russian stock markets have also started losing value once again.

On Tuesday, Russian MICEX indexes fell by 0.48 percent to 1.857 points and RTS indexes decreased by 1.55 percent to 848 points.

05 Apr,2016