Russia consumer

By Daniel Gallucci

Half a world away from snowy Moscow, Russia’s deepening economic crisis is reverberating upon the palm-fringed beaches and castaway islands of Thailand. The droves of holidaymakers from Russian cities visiting Thai resorts are dwindling, deterred not so much by the southeast Asian nation’s military coup earlier this year as by the rout of the rouble.

As the chart below shows, Russians seeking a warm refuge from the prolonged winter of home were relatively unfazed in early 2014 by the mounting political tensions in Thailand that led to the May military coup. Read more

As Russia steps up control of the internet, electronic payment processors are feeling the heat. Qiwi and PayPal cited security concerns when they halted co-operation with RosUznik, a Russian charity that supports political prisoners, this week. RosUznik suspects political motives.

Founded in late 2011 as a wave of anti-government protests erupted in Moscow, RosUznik collects charitable donations to help fund legal aid for opposition activists undergoing trial or in detention. Read more

What’s driving the Russian economy? If you believe it’s just oil and gas, think again. There’s a big consumer story going on, and it’s being overlooked.

That’s the message of a new report by Sberbank, a Russian bank, which argues that the extractive industries are overshadowing a sizable middle-class spending story that will make Russia Europe’s biggest consumer market and the fourth biggest in the world by 2020. Read more