Russia’s Gradual Return to Statism

Interesting note by Leonid Bershidsky in BloombergView:

Herman Gref, head of Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, yesterday warned that $45 oil could be deadly for the Russian financial system. According to Sberbank calculations, such a low oil price — and the ruble’s commensurate low value — will require forming additional reserves of 3 trillion rubles ($45.8 billion) in 2015. “That means,” Gref said yesterday, “that the government will recapitalize banks and increase its stakes in them, and banks will buy industrial enterprises to turn into financial-industrial groups.” Then, according to Gref, “all our economy will be — the state.”

For years under Vladimir Putin, independent political thought has been a one way ticket to the courtroom, the gulag, or exile. Now, it’s independent economic thought that is the endangered species.