Putin’s Image is About to Crush?

Is Moody’s delegation coming to Moscow now?

Mass media discuss a great deal about the consequences of the current unexampled act of terrorism  in Moscow. Practically every media outlet tries to guess, what influence it is going to show on the image of the president and on the image of the Russian government on the whole.

It seems that the government was  not ready for such development of the situation at all. Something like that happened back in 1996, when neither Boris Yeltsin, nor his generals were ready to learn that a miserable group of Chechen gunmen could storm the Chechen capital Grozny. Sciences of politics presume that the hostage-taking action in the music theatre of Moscow was aimed against President Putin first and foremost. A lot of people, both in Russia and abroad are allegedly not happy with his very active political position. However, each blow has its  hidden economic motives.

A delegation of the respectable international rating agency Moody’s  is expected to arrive in Moscow next week. Foreign specialists were going to bring very good news – Russia had to do just a couple of little things to achieve the so-called investment level. Moody’s was ready to grant the maximum speculative rating to Russia. The credit rating  should be raised by two levels for that. As the agency promised, this might happen within the coming three months. If it happens, then Russia’s rating will achieve the highest point like never before in its history. Russia will have to make only one step towards the investment level.

According to Moody’s, Russia’s current rating is on the level Ba3. If it goes up by two levels, then it will reach the level of Ba1. It would be higher than 1996-1998. Obtaining a rating of the investment level would become the most important even in the field.  The majority of Western investment funds are entitled to purchase the stocks of the investment level.  If the adequate ratings are going to be confirmed, the range of foreign investors, who would be able to work on the Russian market,  would get expanded. Specialists said the day before yesterday that it might happen soon. What about now?

Russian and foreign specialists  can not come to a common opinion regarding the tragic events in  Moscow and their affect on the economic and political situation in the country.

Experts keep saying that there are no reasons to talk about the direct negative influence of the Moscow terrorist act on the Russian economy. Nevertheless, the Russian stock market died yesterday.

An armed group of terrorists, two tons of bombs, hundreds of hostages – the former spectators of the fashionable musical.  It all happened in the capital of the country, which still claims the status of a superpower in the endeavor to struggle with the international terrorism.

When changing ratings, international rating agencies give the first priority to the political  situation in the country. So what can be said about the current political situation in Russia? It seems that there is no situation at all. The government does not say anything, mass media are going hysterical, being manipulated by a small group of suicide terrorists. One shall assume that the world’s largest investors might reconsider their position regarding the Russian perspectives. Then it will be the turn of the rating agencies to change their mind.

Moody’s raised Russia’ rating by two levels a year ago – from B2 to Ba3. This was like a blast for the stock market. The quotations of the Russian stock and eurobonds gained up to five percent. However, the world looked at Russia with the new eyes after the tragic events of September 11th.

As it turned out, weak Russia was almost ahead of the whole humanity. It was fighting the international terrorism  with its old weapons. George Bush pronounced  Russia America’s ally, and Vladimir Putin became his friend. The brave speeches from the American politicians helped  investors to get “enlightened” about Russia. They were just waiting for the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya to be over.  Moody’s has not changed Russia’s rating since that time.

Chechen terrorists reached Moscow a year later. They actually dictate their will to the Russian government. They promised to start shooting  terrorists tomorrow morning. Russian officials said no to any negotiations with the former Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov. Now they are doing their best to call him.

Economic experts think that Vladimir Putin has not done anything, what a president was supposed to do. Putin’s image as the savior of the nation is about to crush. Further events will show, to which extent his reputation is going to suffer. There is an impression that Vladimir Putin  does not control the situation. What does it mean? Who is going to win because of Russia’s shame? Putin does not say anything.

Neither the Russian people, nor the international community have  heard Putin saying anything yet. The president does not promise to kill terrorists everywhere, even in toilets, as he promised before. Putin does not announce the state of emergency. He does not cheer people up, he does not urge everyone to stand it all and have courage. No speeches will be needed tomorrow, if the terrorists keep their promise.  The people of Russia, officers and washerwomen, bankers and bandits, investors and politicians will make their choice.  The world will turn away from Russia again.

Dmitry Slobodanuk

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka