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Resilient Russia

In 2016, the country defied the doubters. Oil production kept rising and new energy-export plans made progress

Russia's oil sector got off its knees in 2016, thanks partly to a rally in crude prices and partly to sheer (and unexpected) resilience. A privatisation plan stuttered, though, and sanctions, together with geopolitical disputes over Ukraine and Syria, overshadowed progress. Many market watchers expected Russian energy output - which accounts for almost half of its budget - to wilt in the face of cheap oil and a saturated global gas market in 2016. Recession, said the doubters, would surely deepen. Instead, oil output rose steadily, hitting a post-Soviet high of 11.1m barrels a day in September; Gazprom's shipments to its core market of Europe hit a record in October; and analysts said the

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