Putin may not survive this winter as police protection budget slumps | World | News

Vladimir Putin‘s security could be in jeopardy, as the Russian budget allocated to police officers is considerably shrinking as a result of West’s economic sanctions. Europe and the US have sought to inflict as much economic pain as possible on Russia to reduce the Kremlin’s war chest amid its invasion of Ukraine. A former Ukrainian deputy justice minister assesses the Kremlin will feel the brunt of sanctions on the country’s economy during the winter and in the spring.

Sergiy Petukhov, told Times Radio: “The hardest sanctions are just going to kick in this December: the sanctions on oil and then on all oil products next spring.

“This is already straining the Russian budgets, making the deficit grow. 

“This is a crucial winter for Putin because if he cannot provide a very significant and clear success in this winter campaign and is not able to stabilise his economy and overcome the sanctions, he might be losing support within his society.”

Russia’s GDP is expecrted to drop by at least 3.4 percent in the best-case scenario and by up to 5.5% in the worst-case scenario, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“In an autocracy like Russia, this matters because at some point, he might not have enough money to pay for his police forces, and people depend on the Russian budgets – those who are his main support base in Russia,” Mr Petukhov said.

“Frankly speaking, I think this is a crucial time for all of us because the one who has more money, more support and more resilience will survive this winter. Hopefully, with the support of NATO allies, this is going to be Ukraine.

“Russian society will be pretty much tired of fighting this unnecessary war.”

READ MORE: Putin nightmare as apocalyptic dark smoke rises from Moscow warehouse

Russia is the only G20 country whose economy will contract next year, the OECD forecasts, with the GDP predicted to drop by 0.4 percent in 2023 before rising by a mere 0.2 percent in 2024.

The Paris-based organisation said all the most-developed countries’ economies will recover apart from the UK. The country’s risks to its already poor economic outlook are “considerable and tilted to the downside”, the OECD said. 

The main reasons for Russia’s economic decline next year are the negative impact of the sanctions and the reduction in exports, while imports are expected to be higher than in 2022.

Inflatiion will also play a role, as estimations show that Russia’s inflation rate will increase sharply by the end of 2022, reaching almost 14%. Forecasts for 2023 vary from 5% (IMF) to 6.8% (OECD).

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