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If backed into a corner will Putin come out swinging? On the eve of Russia's great depression Europe braces for violent repercussions

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By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12/17/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Russia's economy has been halved by sanctions and falling oil prices

The sharply declining price of a barrel of oil and the harsh sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe have created a perfect storm for Russia's weak economy. The ruble has fallen fast, and the financial crisis that faces Russia is quickly spiraling out of control, perhaps, it is even endangering other vulnerable parts of the global economy.

Some analysts fear that Russia could default on its foreign debt, even worse, a depression may force Vladimir Putin to take an aggressive and expansionist stance in Europe.

Some analysts fear that Russia could default on its foreign debt, even worse, a depression may force Vladimir Putin to take an aggressive and expansionist stance in Europe.

Highlights

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/17/2014 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Europe, Ukraine, Russia, European Union, International, U.S., Oil


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ruble recently plummeted 10% in just two days, sending alarms blaring in some of the-barely-recovering economies in Europe, Asia and South America.

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Many investors fear that Russia may default on foreign debt obligations, an act which could cause losses of hundreds of billions to lenders outside of Russia.

Not only could the world undergo another damaging and far more drastic recession, after having only recently emerged from the last one, but some analysts worry that this move could cause a further escalation between Russia and the United States and its allies.

Ukrainian forces have been fighting rebels that most of the world agrees are being funded, trained a

Ukrainian forces have been fighting rebels that most of the world agrees are being funded, trained and supplied by Russia.


Though no one is suggesting war is right on the horizon, it is not far from everyone's mind, because few see President Vladimir Putin backing down from the West.

Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, a political risk and consulting firm said: "I do not expect him (Putin) to blink."

The economic realities of the post-Ukraine flareup are startling.

At the beginning of 2014, Russia was the world's eight-largest economy. Its gross domestic product was $2.1 trillion.

Now it is the 15, tied with Mexico and Indonesia. A single ruble is worth less than two pennies. Since January of this year, the value of Russia's currency has been halved.

In 1998, Russia underwent a similar currency crash. But because of its highly controversial intervention in the Ukraine-especially its annexation of the Crimean region-Russia is not likely yo get help from the U.S. and Europe-backed International Monetary Fund or the World Bank organizations.

"Our deepest fear has been-and still is-that putting Mr. Putin in a `nothing-to-lose' situation removes any constraint he might have had against reneging on his foreign debt obligations, which Russian borrowers probably cannot pay off or service now," wrote Carl Weinberg, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics.

Russia's foreign debt obligations stand at over $670 billion.

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