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Elections continue in Russia during wartime, while in “democratic” Ukraine they are canceled sine die. The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the legislature’s upper house, announced that it had set a Presidential election date of March 17, according to RT, and the Central Election Commission will hold its first meeting on Dec. 8 to organize that election. The Speaker of Federation Council Valentina Matvienko said: “The success of our Russian response to the main challenges of the time depends, first of all, on these Presidential elections…. The whole world obviously will be watching us. Because the Russian Federation today is one of the main architects of a just global future.”

President Vladimir Putin, perhaps not wanting to rely just on the March 17 “lucky” day of the unlucky Irish, addressed the plenary session of the Dec. 7-8 “Russia Calling!” Investment Forum, hosted by VTB bank today. The forum’s theme is “Making Deglobalization: Uniting Sovereign Economies.”

President Putin said that the Russian economy recorded 3.2% GDP growth in the ten months through October, and will grow 3.5% for the year. This is a surprise: The IMF in October called it 2.2% growth; Russia’s economy was actually in contraction at the start of 2023, supposedly being crushed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s “oil price cap” strategy on top of so many other sanctions. It had already been clear, though, that the Russian economy grew strongly through the middle of the year; Putin no doubt has access to more recent data than the IMF had.