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The Editors

Vladimir Putin’s Mission Impossible

Reviving the economy won’t be easy, and he’s the reason.

In need of a miracle.

In need of a miracle.

Photographer: Vladimir Rodionov/AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin faces an enormous challenge. He wants to deliver prosperity to Russians before 2024, when the constitution says his presidency must end, but the economy is no longer cooperating. For this unhelpful economic outlook, Russia’s president has only himself to blame.

After dipping into recession in 2015, Russia remains in a rut. Private investment and productivity are sluggish. Economists don’t expect growth to exceed 2 percent a year in the foreseeable future — a far cry from the 5-percent-plus pace of Putin’s first two terms.