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Russia is a clinical case of “Dutch disease”

Oil gave Putin the funds to unleash war. Though even without Western sanctions he ruled an economically handicapped country. As the late Senator John McCain once rightly stated, Russia is “a big petrol station pretending to be a country”, only that it is armed with nuclear weapons inherited from the USSR, says Andrzej Krajewski, historian, journalist and author of the book ‘Oil. Blood of Civilisation’.

TVP WEEKLY: It is said that the price of oil will decide the ‘to be or not to be’ of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Is this true?

ANDRZEJ KRAJEWSKI: The so-called price ceiling will be the most important element of the sanctions. Setting a price ceiling could lead to a significant reduction in revenue for the Russian budget. At the same time, it will not shake the market supply, as the Russians have to sell oil anyway, even if only non-European countries, including above all China and India, will buy it. There are also still a few countries for which increasing production is not a technical problem if the need arises, such as Saudi Arabia.


Is that why the Sheikhs’ attitude is crucial in the game of finishing off Putin?

It is very significant. Not only because of Saudi Arabia’s position in the ranking of exporters, but also because of the abundance of deposits, the scale of extraction and thus the influence on price formation. Besides, not only are the deposits there among the largest in the world, they are also easily accessible and very cheap to extract. The Sauds – for after all, Arabia is actually privately owned by the family – will survive any crisis of overproduction should it occur. It costs their conglomerate, Saudi Aramco, about $2 to extract a barrel of oil from under the desert sands. When they sell it for $30, they still record a lavish profit. Russia, at the same price per barrel, stands on the edge of the abyss.

To read the entire interview, click here.

– Interviewed by Cezary Korycki
– translated by Tomasz Krzyżanowski

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