Russia and Europe in the time of Trump


“A very intelligent, articulate and rational man who has a good understanding of problems”. These are the words used by Oliver Stone, the world-famous director, when describing President Vladimir Putin, who is featured in his 2016 documentary film.

The year 2016 was an important one for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and not only because it was his 16th year in power (as either president or prime minister). It was also important for Putin because he was able to demonstrate great resilience, overcoming the difficulties which have faced Russia over the past two years. After all, nothing has managed to put even a dent in his power or popularity: not the economic sanctions (which cost close to 1% of Russian GDP), nor the low price of oil (the average price of Brent crude oil dropped from almost $100 in 2014 to $54 in 2015 and down to $44 in 2016), nor the economic recession (in 2015, the Russian economy shrunk by 3.7% and by a further 0.8% in 2016).

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