The storm is nearing perfection

I sometimes wonder if the decision-makers in the Kremlin realize how ugly things are getting in the Russian economy, and how fast. The realization has not quite sunk in, I’m certain, but someone must have explained to the Great Helmsman the most unpleasant practical implications, like a 5% GDP plunge and empty-pot marches next year.

Still, he’s been spared a guided tour down the chain of causes and effects, which begins with early signs of stagnation in late 2013, goes on to the Crimean and Donetsk adventures and the Western sanctions they triggered, incorporates Moscow’s inflationary counter-sanctions and does not leave out the judicial expropriation of Bashneft.

There is also a chance the man does not care a jot – what if he’s preparing for war? Judging by the ruble’s rebound, not yet.

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