2015 for Russia and Ukraine: How Serious Is the Economic Crisis?

Dr Judith Shapiro Dr Judith Shapiro pictured with Professor John Anchor

Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:39:00 GMT

The Business School’s Emerging Markets Research Group (EMERGE) heard Dr Judith Shapiro from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), present her research and views on the current crisis in Russia and the Ukraine.

Judith has a remarkable experience in her subject area. Turning to grapple with the contradictions of the Soviet economy and history on leaving Trotskyist politics, as Senior Lecturer in Economics at Goldsmiths’ and secretary of the British Association for Soviet and East European Studies, she was lecturing in the USSR as Fulbright Professor when Gorbachev came to power. She joined the “Sachs team” advising the Russian Ministry of Finance in the turbulence of Moscow 1993-1994. Indeed her path breaking research on Russia’s mortality crisis dates from that period. Chief of the Transition Economies Section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe from 1998, she returned to Moscow as professor at the graduate New Economic School. Her most recent publication, with Irina Denisova, analyses demographic developments, in The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy. These are the main paths of Judith’s ‘Soviet experience’.

Her presentation to EMERGE on this occasion was aimed mostly on the link between oil prices and current status and prospects of the Russian economy as well as the future of Putin in Russia and the economic impact of current happenings in this region. Although Judith mentioned some of the non-economic issues in this region, she is an economist, and therefore looks at all that is happening from an economic perspective, i.e. her main question is: What is it going to cost? This approach has allowed her to provide an unbiased perspective at the issues from which Russia is currently suffering, and provided an excellent comparison of both Ukraine and Russia but also the relationship of these two countries a decade or two ago as well as now.

Judith’s talk has raised a few questions of what is going to influence Russia in the future, whether it is going to be societal issues such as public spending, falling oil prices, corruption, or the resource curse. As she has mentioned, we cannot say what is going to happen, but it certainly will be interesting to see what Putin will do with Russia in the short run as well as in the long-term perspective.

Professor John Anchor, Director, Emerging Markets Research Group, says “it was a great privilege to receive Judith in Huddersfield. Her detailed knowledge of her subject was most impressive. She truly has an insider’s view.”

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