Who will break the bank?

The Russian Central Bank will soon have a new boss. Sergei Ignatyev, who has held the post for three terms (the allowed maximum), is leaving. He is leaving with no vivid memories left behind, which in itself is not bad. He could well remain in history as the father of a default or a banking collapse. Preconditions were ripe in 2005 and 2009, but they managed to ride out the storm.

From what I have seen personally, he is a deeply decent and intelligent person, an economics theorist of a very high level. Is such a set of qualities sufficient to be chairman of the Central Bank of Russia in the 21st century? I do not think it is. Continue reading

A Magnitsky law for Europe

Financial Times

The US statute is a pro-Russian, not anti-Russian, act

Even by its own recent standards, Moscow’s response to the US Magnitsky law, which bars Russian officials accused of human rights violations from the US, has been ugly. President Vladimir Putin last week signed into law a ban on US citizens adopting Russian children. In effect, this strands thousands of Russia’s most vulnerable citizens in often appalling orphanages, as hostages to US-Russian relations. Continue reading