PUTIN SPEECH. Read the whole thing if you want to know what he’s thinking; if you haven’t time, read this. Nothing new – unilateral world is a disaster, only multilateral agreements can work. But more pointed this time. And he’s right: what rational entity thinks Washington improved Kosovo, Libya, Iraq, ISIS, Ukraine? Catastrophe and chaos everywhere. USA continues to win the greatest threat to peace poll. Some lines that struck me: “Russia does not need any kind of special, exclusive place in the world... While respecting the interests of others, we simply want for our own interests to be taken into account... We don’t need to be a superpower; this would only be an extra load for us... We have had more than enough of those revolutions in the 20th century. What we need is evolution... It is impossible to keep humiliating one’s partners forever in such a way... We have no desire to return to our totalitarian past. This is not because we fear anything, but because this path leads to a dead end...”.
SANCTIONS. An argument for Russian food counter-sanctions is that they would boost domestic producers. So far so good: production up nearly 17%. Russia’s GDP is doing better than predicted. In fact Igor Shuvalov sees them helping modernisation and hopes they continue. Meanwhile Germany’s business confidence drops some more.