Monthly Archives: April 2020

Liv­ing or Leav­ing? Youth and the live­ab­il­ity of single-in­dustry towns in the Rus­sian Arc­tic

 

Alla Bolotova, Post-doctoral researcher in the Wollie project, wrote an article for the new issue of Aleksanteri Insight. Aleksanteri Insight is a series of expert opinions, published by the Aleksanteri Institute quarterly and edited by Kaarina Aitamurto and Dmitry Yagodin. The latest issue of the series is titled “Liv­ing or Leav­ing? Youth and the live­ab­il­ity of single-in­dustry towns in the Rus­sian Arc­tic” and provides results of Alla Bolotova’s work within the Wollie project.

The article is available in both English and Finnish online.

Oil market and coronavirus

Crashing oil prices are one of the most discussed topics these days, and many try to understand why does it happen and what are the effects. To Russia, that is largely dependent on high oil prices, the current situation is especially worrisome. The solid prices are the lowest in 20 years (and on Monday American WTI oil even had a negative price of -37 US dollars), and the ruble has been dropping for more than a month now, and the coronavirus outbreak does not help the economy either. Professor Tynkkynen has been approached by several media outlets to comment on the recent developments, and here we have collected his interviews.


Firstly, Professor Tynkkynen appeared today in the Ykkösaamu programme on Yle Radio 1, the interview starts at 52:41.

Secondly, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s comments can be read in today’s Kauppalehti article, titled “Kaoottinen öljymarkkina iskee rumasti” (The chaotic oil market lunges nastily). For instance, talking about Brent’s price decline, Professor Tynkkynen said

that oil will be bringing tax rubles to President Vladimir Putin’s government as long as the price remains above $ 15 a barrel. If the price falls below $ 15, the Russian economic crisis will worsen.

Thirdly, Professor Tynkkynen’s comments on Russian National Wealth Fund can be found in the MTV news. This fund accumulated extra oil and gas revenues for 12 years, now has more than 120 billion US dollars and in theory, can be used for supporting Russian citizens during these difficult times. However, as Professor Tynkkynen states

– There are significant buffer funds in Russia. It is a fact that in recent decades, public investment has not gone to the social and health sectors but to the energy sector and the construction of military equipment How Russia can take care of the well-being of its citizens is a big social question, Tynkkynen says.
If Russia’s social- and healthcare cannot withstand the corona pandemic, the people may be even more angry at their government.
– In recent days, there has been criticism of the Putin administration in the Russian media. Even in the media, which has been very sympathetic to the administration, there is criticism of the fact that in recent decades Russia has invested in supporting the fossil energy sector and building security and military equipment, and not in improving the social and health sectors, Tynkkynen says.

 

Karoliina Hurri for Through the Looking Glass

This year our Doctoral candidate Sohvi Kangasluoma together with her fellow PhD student Maija Greis started a blog “Through the Looking Glass“, where they bring to the light stories and experiences of women in Academia.

Today they published an inspiring interview with another Doctoral candidate from our research group Karoliina Hurri. Karoliina spoke about many important issues in her interview, ranging from how she got interested in her topic to what coronavirus crisis can teach us about climate change mitigation.

Read the interview in the “Through the Looking Glass” blog, and follow the project on Twitter and Instagram.

Coronavirus, Russia and declining oil prices

While all the world is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the oil market is not an exception. The prices have been plummeting since March, when Saudi Arabia and Russia engaged in the oil price war. YLE tried to explain what is going on now with the oil market and published an article “Pandemia iski myös öljymarkkinoille: Sekoitti Venäjän ja Saudi-Arabian hintasodan kortit” (The pandemic hit also the oil market: Shuffled Russian and Saudi price war cards). Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen commented on the issue for the article:

So is there a solution to the price war in the midst of the coronavirus crisis?

– Time will show it. We have seen the co-operation between Opec and Russia in recent years, says Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Associate Professor in Russian Environmental Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki.

He believes that Russia is at a disadvantegous position in this contention.

– If we look at the drop in the price of oil, Russia’s Urals brand has decline the most. With this price of oil, Saudi Arabia is still able to generate profits for itself, unlike Russia, where production costs are starting to be higher than the current barrel price for Urals brand.

Read this and other insights in the article online.