State Duma deputy Andrei Kolesnik proposes reinstating the death penalty for treason
A proposal has been made in the Russian State Duma to revive the death penalty for those who have left the country and commenced criticizing the Russian authorities. The initiative was launched by deputy Andrei Kolesnik.
In an interview with Moscow Region Today [see translation below], the parliamentarian noted that an exception could be made for those who have simply left the country. According to him, traitors are those who have left and at the same time are waging an information war against Russia.
Security Council deputy chair Dmitry Medvedev said that Russians who fled the country and wish its destruction should be treated in accordance with the law, but the rules of wartime should also be remembered.
Following Nevzorov, Belotserkovskaya has been sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison for spreading fake news. State Duma deputy Andrei Kolesnik commented on this practice of “absentee sentences.”
“Okay, some people merely fled Russia. There are a lot of yellow bellies. They can stay there and work. But when a person works against Russia, it is called an information war. It’s more serious than a weapon, sometimes. Evil tongues are scarier than a gun,” the deputy said in an interview with Moscow Region Today.
However, Kolesnik stressed that the “traitors to the Motherland” had been punished according to the law: there is evidence, i.e., publications. But the deputy noted that he himself would have dealt with them more harshly.
“This is my personal opinion, although maybe I will voice it in parliament. If a person has committed serious crimes against Russia, then the sentence might be different. And this sentence could be enforced in the place where he (“traitor to the Motherland” — ed.) is located. Combat is currently underway. So, they should behave more carefully,” the deputy said.
When our correspondent asked whether he was talking about the death penalty, Kolesnik replied as follows.
“The [death penalty] can be employed for treason. We currently have a moratorium on the death penalty, although it exists in our laws. The decision to lift the moratorium is made not by the State Duma, but by the court. Although many people in the State Duma are leaning in this direction,” the deputy said.
Earlier, State Duma deputy [Maxim Ivanov] said that the unemployed could be sent to the SMO zone.
Amid the departure of a number of foreign brands, Ladoga Group is the first in Petersburg to launch the production of Irish whiskey under its own brand.
The products will be produced at the plant in Petersburg from Irish grain and malt distillates aged in oak barrels for more than three years. The company is counting on the new product’s success due to Irish whiskey’s growing popularity in Russia and the withdrawal of several foreign brands from the market, Ladoga president Veniamin Grabar said.
“If bottling Scotch whiskey in Russia is already a familiar thing, then Carrygreen is one of the first whiskeys from Irish distillates bottled in Russia. It is now a rapidly growing product in its category,” he said.
Grabar claims that the volume of imports on the market is about 70%. And yet, Irish whiskey’s share of this market has been growing — from 16% in 2017 to 25% in 2021. Since 2017, the number of Irish whiskey brands on the Russian market has doubled, growing to fifty.
As the company told DP, the first batch of products under its own brand will total 63,000 bottles. The planned annual volume is 400,000 half- and .7-liter bottles. At the moment, the project is aimed at the domestic market: the company plans to take a 30% share of Russia’s Irish whiskey segment, and the entire Ladoga Group (including its own import distribution companies) aims to grab 7-8% of the domestic whiskey market. If its resources and feedstocks allow, the group does not rule out starting exports to the CIS countries.
According to Maxim Chernigovsky, head of the Club of Alcohol Market Professionals, whiskey in Russia is currently produced by about twenty factories.
“A significant part of the whiskey market in past years was taken up by imports from the UK and the USA. After the departure of a number of foreign brands, there was a shortage. Russian producers eliminated it by ramping up the production of this alcoholic beverage by 37% in 2022 compared to 2021,” he notes.
Thus, the shortage of whiskey in Russia has already been surmounted by domestic producers. Competition in this segment will definitely be intense, says Chernigovsky. “The segment is interesting: it is premium and high-margin. In fact, there is competition only among our own Russian homegrown factories. Foreign-made whiskey, delivered to Russia through parallel imports, show up on store shelves at a price at least 20% higher,” the expert argues. “Irish whiskey will be bottled in St. Petersburg for the first time, and Ladoga’s prospects can be called positive.“
According to estimates by the Club of Alcohol Market Professionals, 2,838,000 decaliters of whiskey were produced in Russia in 2021; in 2022, production increased by 37% to 3,891,000 decaliters. Among the largest players in this market are the Stavropol-based Alvis Group, the Stellar Group, Beluga’s Georgiyevsk distillery, as well as Tula’s 1911 Distillery. In addition, Bacardi bottles whiskey under the William Lawson’s brand at a Russian plant.
The Ladoga Group consists of several companies, including a production facility with an annual capacity of 4.5 million decaliters and a network of wholesale distributors. In 2021, Ladoga Distribution’s revenue increased by 18% to 12.9 billion rubles, and its net profits amounted to 121.9 million rubles, compared to 345.2 million the previous year.
Barrister gins have won three medals at the UK’s Gin Of The Year™, considered the most important gin competition in the world. Barrister Organic and Barrister Blue gins won gold medals, Barrister Dry was awarded silver.
Once a year, the world’s most successful gin producers gather in London to present their production to prestigious jury of the UK’s most authoritative gin buyers. Gin of the Year organizer Peak Publishing is “the world’s most influential beverage competition entity” with 1 billion bottles sold since 2006. Barrister family gins traditionally show high results in international competitions such as CWSA, The GIN Masters, Beverage Tasting Institute, World Gin Awards, Frankfurt International Trophy, International Wine & Spirit Competition, New Zealand Spirits Awards and others. Today Barrister gins are available in overseas markets in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India, China and the Middle East.
International economic institutions, which recently doubted Russia’s economy could survive under Western sanctions, are now sounding more optimistic than even the Russian government. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), known for its gloomy forecasts, this week predicted Russia’s GDP will grow at 0.3% this year.
The typically conservative IMF was much more upbeat than usual in its most recent forecasts for the global economy — for which it anticipates 2.9% growth (up 0.2 percentage points from its October forecast) because of “unexpectedly stable” dynamics.
Russia’s forecast was upgraded even more than the global figures: in October, the IMF expected a 2.3% fall in Russian GDP in 2023, now it is talking about 0.3% growth. In 2024, they believe Russia’s GDP will increase by as much as 2.1%.
IMF economists explain this surge of optimism with a familiar narrative: the stability of Russian oil exports. “At the current oil price cap level, Russian crude oil export volumes are not expected to be significantly affected, with Russian trade continuing to be redirected from sanctioning to non-sanctioning countries,” the report stated.
The IMF’s latest figures are the most optimistic forecast around. They are well above the February consensus among Russian economists (decline of 1.5% in 2023) and the official projections of the Russian authorities: the Ministry of Economic Development currently predicts a fall of 0.8% in 2023, while the Central Bank expects a drop of up to 4%.
If Russia’s economy is to live up to the IMF’s expectations, output needs to increase by 0.4% every quarter from the fourth quarter of last year to the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a Telegram channel run by Bloomberg Economics’ Alexander Isakov. The economist thinks this is realistic. “The shocks of losing the European gas market, the departure of car manufacturers and others remain… while retail lending is accelerating to finance a recovery in consumer demand,” Isakov wrote. “Thus, the IMF’s figures seem persuasive.”
Russia’s economy has adapted quicker than expected after the shocks of 2022. Central Bank analysts see five underlying reasons for this:
The stability of the banking system. Thanks to ample capital reserves, banks have remained in reasonable shape — while lending was supported by regulatory easing;
Falling export volumes offset by rising prices;
Rapid redirection of exports toward Asia;
An effective reshaping of logistics chains by import-based businesses;
Government support, with an increase in budget spending.
Business activity in Russia continues to recover. According to an updated State Statistics Service (Rosstat) estimate and the Central Bank’s figures, in the third quarter the economy turned a corner (+0.86% compared with the previous quarter). Russia’s economy moves into 2023 with a higher level of activity than was expected in the spring, Central Bank analysts wrote last month. Demand has been underpinned by government spending.
However, it’s important to point out that the economic recovery is patchy.
Constraining factors include a growing preference for saving rather than spending among the general population, difficulties with maintaining imported equipment and staff shortages.
In November, almost half of Russian businesses (45%) reported staffing problems. The dwindling workforce and the significant wartime brain drain could result in fierce competition to hire the remaining talent. And that will likely push up salaries faster than productivity can match, bringing inflationary risks (The Bell recently spoke at length with Vladimir Gimpelson, director of the Center for Labor Studies at the Higher School of Economics about current trends on the labor market).
“The IMF scenario is clearly the most optimistic of the possible outcomes that have some chance of happening in 2023,” said Dmitry Polevoi, investment director at Loko-Invest.
“However, from our point of view, GDP will still fall by 1.5-2.5% in 2023 due to weak demand at home and abroad, coupled with high levels of uncertainty.”