Peril for Putin

Can Putin prevent Russia from collapsing?

Can Putin prevent Russia from collapsing?

With the conflict in Crimea cooling down for the moment, Putin decided to open up a new front on Russia’s eastern border, only this time with one of Russia’s staunchest allies: China. In late November, Russian President Vladimir Putin released his two pet Siberian tigers into the wild, only to have them promptly cross the border and enter into China, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Situated in northeastern China, the two tigers, named Ustin and Kuzya, strike fear into Chinese farmers, as they have claimed the lives of over fifteen goats, several chickens, and even a domestic dog so far. Even though this recent controversy does not seem to endanger Russo-Chinese relations, it stands as an ominous sign for Russia’s future.

Despite Putin being named Russia’s “Man of the Year” for the fifteenth year in a row, the man who once attempted to personally initiate an endangered crane migration seems to be on the hot seat. Following harsh economic sanctions resulting from Russian interference in Crimea and a simultaneous drop in oil prices, Russia plunged into a severe economic crisis. As Russia’s economy floundered, the value of the ruble, Russia’s form of currency, dropped nineteen percent in a single day, prompting Russian citizens to rush to malls to exchange their-devaluing rubles for items such as appliances. Even though the Kremlin, Russia’s central bank, has attempted to stem the tide by increasing the interest rate and buying rubles with foreign currencies, the economic future of Russia seems bleak, as fear has seized the Russian people. Yet the worst may be still yet to come, as the prospect of an all out economic collapse and hyperinflation loom overhead.

While, domestically speaking, Russia seems to be imploding economically, on the international front, Russia does not seem to be faring any better. In the wake of continued Russian refusal to remove its presence from Crimea, the United States and its European allies have tightened the noose on Russia, imposing more severe economic sanctions. In mid-December, President Obama agreed to prohibit new investment and trade with Crimea and freeze the property of people and businesses working in Crimea or aiding its new leadership. Furthermore, the executive order barred twenty-four people from access into the U.S. and froze their U.S. assets in response to their contribution to the recent pro-Russian revolt in Crimea.

Yet hope remains for Putin and Russia, as China and India have taken measures to aid Russia in its economic troubles. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi stated on December 22, “If the Russian side needs, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.” India too seems ready to invigorate the Russian economy, as already it has recently bought twelve nuclear reactors from Russia and decided to engage in a joint production of military helicopters with Russia. Despite this limited international and economic success, Russia needs to take strong measures if it hopes to emerge out of the hole it has dug itself into. First and foremost of these changes needs to be better relations with the West. If Russia can appease the U.S. and the European Union by complying with international law in Crimea, the sanctions that crippled the Russian economy might be lifted, which in turn might lift the entire Russian economy out of disaster. Putin needs to take action, and soon at that, otherwise his status as Russia’s “Man of the Year” may be in jeopardy.

Sources

Baker, Peter. “U.S. Tightens Crimea Embargo to Pressure Russia.” The New York Times. The
New York Times, 19 Dec. 2014. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/20/world/europe/us-tightens-crimea-embargo-to- pressure-russia.html?_r=0>.

Kitroeff, Natalie, and Joe Weisenthal. “Here’s Why the Russian Ruble Is Collapsing.” Bloomberg
Business Week. Bloomberg, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. <http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-12-16/no-caviar-is-not-getting-cheaper- everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-russian-ruble-collapse>.

Rettman, Andrew. “China Ignores EU, Offers to Help Russia.” EUobserver. N.p., 22 Dec. 2014.
Web. <http://euobserver.com/foreign/127036>.

Taylor, Adam. “The Sad Irony of Putin’s ‘man of the Year’ Prize.” Washington Post. The
Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/12/16/the-sad-irony-of- putins-man-of-the-year-prize/>.

Williams, Ian. “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Tigers Go on Killing Spree in China.” NBC
News. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/russian-president-vladimir- putins-tigers-go-killing-spree-china-n262221>.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Vladimir_Putin_signing_the_laws_on_admitting_Crimea_and_Sevastopol_to_the_Russian_Federation#mediaviewer/File:Ceremony_signing_the_laws_on_admitting_Crimea_and_Sevastopol_to_the_Russian_Federation_1.jpg

2 Comments

  1. Excellent article. Putin has been pigeonholed by Obama and the West into a situation that he simply can’t get out of anymore. Runaway inflation, consumer confidence at all time lows, and an economy in shambles. Oil prices only make it worse. So much for invading Ukraine.

  2. Broken Hearted says:

    Instead of stalin he seems to be russian into war. This man made a 5 year plan into an overnight missions. He is czary. Too bad for the russians people get out what they putin. If they go to war it will come back and hurt them. Serfs up mother russia.

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