Russia's politics and the effect on the economy
Russia has maintained a positive trade balance over the last 10 years, but in 2009, Russian exports slumped significantly due to the economic crisis. Since then, Russia has recovered and the country reports a greater surplus now than it did prior to the crisis.
However, Russia’s economy has been weakened recently because of reductions in global oil and gas prices, upon which the Russian economy is largely dependent, and because of international tensions as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In the past couple of years, Russia has often reacted with hostility to any developments seen as threatening, and as Russia continues to provoke international conflict, this will affect its economy and likely hurt existing trade relations with both import and export partners. As a result, GDP growth is negative in 2015. This has also contributed to significant reductions in GDP per capita, which will directly affect Russian citizens, and moreso as Russia’s inflation is peaking and the unemployment rate continues to rise. In 2015, the inflation rate was close to 16 percent. Economic diversification beyond oil and gas in addition to maintaining trade relations would help Russia’s economy.