Sunday, June 16, 2024

Putin Taunts West Over ‘Putin Inflation’ In Speech At ‘Russian Davos’

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Topline
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a Friday speech those blaming him for surging inflation don’t “know how to read or write,” directly mocking President Joe Biden, who’s pinned much of the cause of four-decade high inflation on “Putin’s price hike.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on … [+] Friday.

AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Putin made the remarks during an appearance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum – Russia’s equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that barred Russians from this year’s event.

The “so-called Putin inflation in the West” is an idea based on pure “stupidity,” Putin said according to a translation of his comments provided by the New York Times.

Though Putin didn’t mention Biden by name, the American leader has been quick to point the finger at Putin in the past, saying in April “70% of the increase in inflation was the consequence of Putin’s price hike.”

Biden is partially right—gas prices and food prices have surged following Russia’s invasion, contributing to the sharp rise in consumer prices—but inflation in the U.S. is continuing a trend that started well before Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Putin also claimed Western leaders are using Russia as a “life buoy” to deflect blame for economic woes and said the U.S. declared itself “God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities” in other points of the speech, according to a translation from Max Seddon of the Financial Times.

Surprising Fact
Putin’s speech at the forum was delayed by roughly an hour due to cyberattacks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters early Friday. The event was missing many of the foreign investors typically present at the conference, and no representatives from European or American companies were included on the event’s schedule.

Key Background
Putin’s barbs come amid looming fears of a recession globally, and the World Bank said earlier this month a majority of countries may soon fall into a recession. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine previously caused the World Bank to downgrade its global economic growth forecasts. Russia’s economy has become increasingly isolated as sanctions cut off its business ties to the West and hundreds of multinational firms have pulled out of the country. The Kremlin has portrayed itself as immune to the worsening economic conditions globally, despite evidence of high inflation and forecasts of a shrinking GDP.

Tangent
The message of the forum was to inspire confidence amongst Russian elites about the country’s economic future, but some 15,000 Russian millionaires have filed paperwork to leave the country in wake of the war, according to a Friday intelligence update by the United Kingdom.

Further Reading
Biden’s claim that 70% of inflation jump is due to ‘Putin’s price hike’ (Washington Post)

Here’s What Putin Got Right And Wrong In His Boasts About The Russian Economy (Forbes)

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