Novgorod becomes first Russian region to default

Following claims from the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency that a Russian region had recently defaulted on a bank loan, rbc is now claiming that the oblast in question is Novgorod in the country’s north-west.  The region has been in decline ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the oblast’s population fell from 3.71m in 1989 to just 3.31m  in 2010, with Nizhny Novogrod dropping from being Russia’s third most populous city to its fifth. The region is said to have been unable to pay back a loan – reported to be in the region of RUB2bn  –  to the VTB bank. According to Standard & Poor’s, several other Russian regions are also now on the verge of bankruptcy.