Putin Focuses His Sights on Russia’s Pension Reserve Fund

January 15, 2014 by Craig Mellow

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Russia's Reserve Fund and National Wealth Fund Assets Under Management, 2008-'13 VLADIMIR PUTIN has a problem more serious than anti-Russian protesters massing on the barricades in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. In 2013, Russia’s economic growth slowed to an estimated 1.5 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund — a long way from the 5 to 7 percent range in the happy days before the global financial crisis. This near-stagnation leaves Putin strapped for budgetary cash to fulfill the broad social promises he made when reassuming Russia’s presidency in May 2012. It also threatens the implicit compact that has governed the whole of his 13 years in power: He would deliver constantly rising living standards in exchange for the inexorable erosion of pluralism and openness. The Russian leader lacks the classic tools of economic pump-priming. Balanced budgets and low debt are a shining achievement of Putin’s long reign, and a determination…

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