Western sanctions against Russia and low oil prices are having an equal effect on the Russian economy, former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Monday.
“Sanctions are influencing the Russian economy no less than the low prices for oil,” Kudrin said during a press conference.
The former minister also predicted a significant downgrade of Russia’s credit rating in 2015.
In recent weeks, Russia has faced a rapid depreciation of its national currency, the ruble. Russian authorities have cited Western sanctions, low oil prices and currency speculation among the principal reasons for the financial problems.
Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the United States, the European Union and a number of their allies imposed economic sanctions against Moscow, targeting the country’s energy, defense and banking. The West has accused Moscow of interfering in the armed conflict in Ukraine. The accusations have been repeatedly denied by the Kremlin.
Last week, US President Barack Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, enabling him to impose new sanctions against Moscow at his discretion. The same week, Washington and Brussels introduced sanctions against the economy and some officials of the Republic of Crimea.