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Counting the Cost

The cost of Russia's Ukrainian adventure

Amid continuing tensions between Moscow and Kiev, how are current events impacting the Russian economy?

Last updated: 26 Apr 2014 07:39
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This week, Counting the Cost looks at Russia, which is the eighth largest economy in the world and has the earth's largest reserves of natural gas.

Russia provides one-third of Europe's energy needs, yet after its foray into Crimea and increasing activity in eastern Ukraine, its economy has seen the most difficult conditions since the 2008 financial crisis.

It has seen capital flight of $63bn in the first three months of this year as investors dump the ruble. And that haemorrhaging of the economy is predicted to continue; the Russian finance minister said this week that the economy may see zero growth this year because of the unrest in Ukraine.

Al Jazeera's Peter Sharp reports from Moscow on the potential fallout to the Russian economy. And we count the cost of Putin's Ukrainian adventure with Cornelia Meyer, an economist, energy specialist, and the CEO of MRL Corporation.

Greece rising?

Just four years ago, Greece almost forced the eurozone into collapse. This week there were signs of green shoots, but we ask is this early optimism is just smoke and mirrors.

Unemployment in Greece stands at 26.7 percent, and public indebtedness has surged to 180 percent of the GDP - a number that analysts say is unsustainable for a small economy like Greece's.

Austerity measures in response to the financial crisis have also taken a human toll, especially on the country's public health system. There have been reports of rising infant mortality rates and even the return of malaria.

Dimitrios Droutsas, a lawyer and politician who served as minister of foreign affairs between 2010 and 2011, the height of the crisis, talks to Counting the Cost about the state of the Greek economy.

Everest: Closed for business

On Everest, this week the world's highest mountain closed to climbers for the remainder of 2014. Guides, known as Sherpas, are refusing to scale the mountain following the deaths of 16 of their colleagues; they were killed in the worst accident in the mountain's history.

The Sherpas want better insurance and medical cover, and a fairer share of the profits that come to the Nepalese government from commercial mountaineering. We look at why trouble on top of the world could prove a wake-up call for the mountaineering business.

Also on this week's show, Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane looks at Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo and the stalled talks between the United States and Japan about a Pacific Rim trade pact.

And Rob Reynolds reports on cost-effective ways of harnessing solar power in California. 

Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630.  Click here  for more  Counting the Cost .   

Follow Kamahl Santamaria  @KamahlAJE and business editor Abid Ali  @abidoliverali  

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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