Putin's increasingly in a corner, and that's dangerous," said Mr Kliment, who does not expect a retreat from Ukraine. "Ukraine policy ... is a key part of Putin's political support now. To cave on that would be politically disastrous for him."
Mr Putin has largely been out of public view in recent days as the rouble tanked, but he's scheduled to address the nation in an end-of-year press conference on Thursday. By then, he'll know whether the rouble stabilises or whether he'll be drawn into actions to slow the economic bleed.
[This one comes with the usual disclaimers]
Despite the best efforts of the Russian central bank, the ruble is experiencing a dramatic fall. “We are seeing an economic crisis,” Natalia V. Akindinova, a professor at the Higher School of Economics, told the New York Times on Tuesday. “We are seeing a sharp devaluation of the ruble at a time when the central bank doesn’t have the reserves to influence the market, as it did in the past crises.”
“Russia’s economy is terribly dependent on oil: if the oil price falls so low, severe economic recession is inevitable and default becomes a real possibility,” writes Frances Coppola for Forbes.
Financial Class Using Oil Weapon to Tame Russia
The economic war waged against Russia by the financial elite and their partners is having a concrete and catastrophic effect.
“In recent developments, it became clear that economic warfare is the main weapon used by the Transnational Elite, (TE- i.e. the network of the elites based mainly in the G7 countries which run the New World Order of neoliberal globalization), to subordinate Russia and integrate every other country still resisting the process, e.g. Iran and Venezuela,” writes Takis Fotopoulos.
It is not happenstance that Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum & Natural Resources, and the most influential voice within OPEC, decided to set in motion the price free fall now battering the Russian economy.
The establishment media declares the effort is a bid to win back market share, but this is little more than a cover story.
In fact, the manipulation of oil prices is an effort to destroy the Russian economy and set the stage for yet another Soros-esque velvet revolution.
It is worth quoting Fotopoulos at length:
It is therefore clear that Saudi Arabia’s action in precipitating the dramatic fall in the price of oil was far from accidental. Furthermore, it was hardly motivated by a Saudi attempt to keep its dominant share in the oil market, supposedly threatened by the US shale oil production.
This explanation, given by the ‘globalist’ faction within the Russian elite and the liberal “Left” in the West, was in fact an alibi used by the TE itself and the Saudis in order to disguise the real aim of this action. That is, the use of the price of oil as a highly effective weapon of economic warfare in order to force Russia and associate resisting regimes (like Iran and Venezuela) either to submit to the TE rule, or face a possibly severe economic recession (depending on how long the price of oil will be kept at very low levels) which could well lead to ‘velvet revolutions’ in all these countries and, possibly, to regime changes.
There is, however, a caveat that will undoubtedly complicate the effort — Russia’s determination to upgrade its military in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine and moves by NATO and the West to aggressively militarize Eastern Europe.
In November, Michael Snyder wrote about the Russian military and its recent technological developments and how it is preparing for a showdown with the West, including the possibility of nuclear war.
Russia is a vastly different country than it was under a fossilized and atrophied Soviet Union. The question is: will it take engineered economic warfare and the possibility of its destruction in stride, or will it respond militarily?
If you listen to conventional financial news, they’ll all tell you that you’d have to be insane to own anything in Russia right now—stocks, bonds, currency, etc.
They’ll tell you that the ruble is in freefall, and that the dollar is the place to be.
But if you have been a reader of this column for any length of time, you know that I am a very data-driven person.
So… just for kicks, I decided to dive into the numbers and make an objective comparison between the US dollar and the Russian ruble.