Yet even that rebound in the ruble is a sign of weakness, economists say, reflecting a sanctions-induced collapse in imports that, combined with a continued gusher of energy revenues, has sent the country’s current account soaring.
“The economic prospects for Russia are especially gloomy,” the Bank of Finland said in an analysis this month. “By initiating a brutal war against Ukraine, Russia has chosen to become much poorer and less influential in economic terms.”
Mr. Putin, in a tacit acknowledgment of the economic toll of the war, promised this week to increase the minimum wage, pensions and military benefits, even as he shrugged off the mass exodus of foreign firms since the invasion on Feb. 24.
“Sometimes you look at those leaving and think, ‘Maybe thank God that they are,’” Mr. Putin said in a televised meeting on Thursday. “Our businesses and our manufacturers have grown up and will successfully find a place on ground prepared by our partners. Nothing will change.”
Mr. Putin also lashed out at Western governments that are freezing Russian assets, including yachts and bank accounts linked to his inner circle. “Stealing others’ assets never ends well, primarily for those doing such wicked things,” he said in the meeting, according to the Interfax news agency.
He dismissed as a trivial inconvenience a lack of luxury goods from European firms. Such items will be “a little more expensive,” he said, using the example of high-end Mercedes-Benz cars, but said that those who drove them previously would continue to drive them. They can be imported from anywhere, he said. “It doesn’t matter to us.”