Meet the woman who built Russia’s wartime economy and helped buy another term for Putin


  • The governor of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, played a key role in stabilizing Russia’s sanctions-hit economy.

  • He has been the head of the central bank of Russia since 2013 and has received international recognition.

  • But now he seems to be taking part in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The Russian economy had to fall and fall after the Western countries shot them with punishment for invading Ukraine.

But it didn’t.

Russia’s economic stability has troubled the West, but its actions are not limited to Russian President Putin, a former KGB spy. ambitions of the kingdom. It also looks to the woman behind it: Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of the country’s central bank, who plays a key role in keeping Russia’s wartime economy afloat.

“Nabiullina has been instrumental in stabilizing the Russian economy, despite the severe financial crisis caused by sanctions,” Daniel McDowell, a professor at Syracuse University who specializes in international political economy, told Business Insider. In particular, he appreciates its use interest rates and monetary policy to stabilize the ruble and its migration so that Russia does not use it Western currency in international trade.

“Although life in Russia has declined because of the sanctions, the situation could have been much worse had it not been for the strategic decisions,” McDowell added. “I think it’s fair to say he’s writing sports book how to respond to external sanctions.”

While many, such as McDowell, have praised Nabiullina for her work in boosting the Russian economy, her role in supporting the Putin regime is seen as a betrayal by Western economists, economists, and analysts.

Nabiullina and the central bank of Russia did not respond to BI’s request.

Nabiullina ate and dined with the European elite before the war

A few years ago, Nabiullina was considered kind, even among Kremlin Insiders. The nobles in Brussels seemed to regard Nabiullina as one of their own. In 2018, Christine Lagarde, former head of the International Monetary Fund, he praised Nabiullina – a fellow actor – as a policymaker who “can make central banks ‘sing’.”

Today, 60-year-old Nabiullina is as synonymous in the West as Putin. He has been approved by the US and in the UK.

Many of the economists and analysts who sat shoulder to shoulder with her are turning their backs on the woman who is saving the Russian economy – thus helping. Putin got his fifth part at the top job of the country.

“He’s very smart, and so are the people around him,” Richard Portes, professor of economics at the London Business School, told BI.

However, Portes – who has sat alongside Nabiullina at international conferences – was “very upset” with Nabiullina for supporting the Putin regime.

“I liked him, personally,” added Portes — and apparently he’s not the only one.

As Anders Åslund, a Swedish economist who works on the Russian economy, wrote in Moscow Times in March 2022, “I’ve never heard him raise his voice. It’s hard not to like him.”

“Supporters fear that he will be too soft,” Åslund added at the time, referring to his appointment as Russia’s top banker.

This is just one indication of his dubious rise to the top of the Russian government.

The daughter of a few blue people

A native of the industrial city of Ufa in Central Russia, Nabulina he was born into a family of Atatars – a small group in Russia. His father was a driver and his mother was a factory worker.

Growing up in the 1970s, she learned French, enjoyed classical music, and read classics by Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Franz Kafka, her husband Yaroslav Kuzminov said in 2013. Bloomberg report.

Nabiullina met Kuzminov – the founder of the Higher School of Economics, a well-known institution – in the 1980s when he was teaching at Moscow State University, where he studied economics. He has an older son.

General view of the city of Ufa in Russia on 29/08/18.

The city of Nabiullina in Russia.Alan Harvey/SNS Group/Getty Images

From support group to supporter of Putin

It was at Moscow State University that Nabiullina met Western economic principles, which would help him in the post-Soviet economic reforms.

In 1991, he worked as an economist at the USSR Scientific and Industrial Union Board, according to him. official record. In 1994, he joined the reform department of the Ministry of Finance of Russia.

He left public service in 1998 and re-entered government in 2000 as a deputy to Herman Gref – the current head of Russian banking giant Sberbank, also known as a liberal – who was then Russia’s finance minister. In 2003, he left his position to think, but was invited by Putin to replace Gref as the minister of finance in 2007 – which surprised him, Bloomberg reported in 2013, citing his friends.

The call changed his career dramatically. Besides, he is also used to playing a supporting role.

Elvira NabiullinaElvira Nabiullina

Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina.REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

His move to leadership was cemented in 2013 when Putin appointed him as the head of the central bank.

“I want to thank you for the trust you are giving me in this appointment, understanding how reliable, difficult, and professional this work is,” said Nabiullina.

He declined to comment Reuters of his appointment at that time.

Like many central bank bosses around the world, Nabiullina is better known in the financial world than in the general public. He also doesn’t seem like he’s talking about his job.

International central-bank stars

Putin’s appointment of Nabiullina to the post of chief bank officer in 2013 it made him famous all over the world. At the time, she was the first woman to lead the Group of Eight, or G8, central bank.

Nabiullina showed his importance to Putin one year in the job in 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea and Nabiullina exposed the Russian economy to Western sanctions.

Although there is a difference between integration – which led the US and other powers to do so expelling Russia from the G8which is now the G7 – Nabiullina still gained international respect and recognition among his colleagues over the years for integrating the Russian economy into the international system and reorganizing the country’s central bank.

In 2015, Euromoney, a financial publication, named Nabiullina Central Bank Governor of the Year. In 2017, Banker named him the Central Banker of the Year of Europe. In 2018, the IMF invited him to pay his respects Michel Camdessus is reading.

He is described as a worker, a pragmatic expert, and not emotional.

Opponents, however, denies that he is another friend of Putin. There are others – such as Åslund, and Swedish economist – who say its reputation as a central bank is not good.

“His track record is very high,” Portes said. “His record of defending a free society is very low. His record of not opposing senseless, stupid, destructive war is very low.”

Putin’s chief expert

When Russia launched a war in Ukraine, Nabiullina was so distraught that she wanted to quit her job. Bloomberg report dated March 23, 2022, citing four unnamed people familiar with the negotiations.

Putin refused to resign and Nabiullina stayed on for five years. They seem to be very helpful so far.

Russia’s GDP grew 3.6% in 2023. The The International Monetary Fund he expects his economy to grow 2.6% this year. Unemployment is near a low profileand wages are rising.

To be honest, not all is well in the Russian economy. Military expenses – such as military spending and government aid – have driven Russia’s growth over the past two decades. The country is also facing a unemployment due to conscription and brain drain.

But Mr. Nabiullina has also managed to pull various instruments, such as interest rates and currency controls, in favor of the economy.

For many, they are now taking part in the fight against Putin who is using austerity measures to improve the economy.

“Being in Putin’s circle means that you adopt his values, you share his values, and you are very loyal to him,” Sergei Aleksashenko, a former Russian central banker, told Financial Times in December 2022.

It is clear that Putin believes in Nabiullina. The government officials are gone to meet him on his opinion, but the Russian leader remained with him and he openly supported him even before the war.

It helps that Nabiullina does not have political ambitions, so she will not threaten Putin’s regime, and it is difficult to reduce inflation, Alexei Makarkin, a researcher with the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow, said. The Wall Street Journal in April 2022.

Nabiullina and the war in Ukraine

As for Nabiullina, a technologist who works in the world’s highest-ranking governments, it’s hard to know what she thinks about her role in bolstering Putin’s regime.

He is known to express his ideas through his brushes and clothes, so some artists read him. “funereal black” dress. after days of war as a sign of grief and resistance to conflict.

Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina participated in the annual financial forum "Russia is calling!" at the World Trade Center on December 7, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina participated in the annual financial forum "Russia is calling!" at the World Trade Center on December 7, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.

Governor of the central bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina in December 2023.Vladimir Pesnya/Epsilon/Getty Images

In December, RBC’s Russian business daily asked him what he thought of being called the world’s top “Disruptor” of 2023 Politico Europe for its role in boosting Russia’s sanctions-hit economy. Nabiulina has not expressed his opinion saying that it is difficult to answer the question.

He is sometimes more outspoken than many Russian officials about the sanctions-hit economy. In April 2022, Nabiullina said Russian reserves you can’t last forever. In December, he warned that the Russian economy had reached its peak risk of burns.

In a video released days after Russia annexed Ukraine, Mr. Nabiullina asked his bank employees to stop politics and focus on saving the damaged economy, according to the Journal.

“I know it’s not easy, but really, let’s not get into political arguments at work, at home, on TV,” the senior banker said in the video. “They just burn the energy we need to do our jobs.”

Even as the war continues, the economy that helped engineer it now seems to have something to do with it form of normality for ordinary Russian people. Nabiullina is going to the opera again.

But if Nabiullina had an audience in the early days of the war about how he was caught in a Catch-22 since saving the Russian economy meant helping Putin, now he has few left.

“He knows better, but there. He decided at the beginning that he would work with Putin and support the policy,” said Portes, the economics professor.

“For him to join the Putin government in the way it has been, it’s sad,” he said.

Read the first article Business Insider


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