Is Russia’s tanking economy making its leader vulnerable?
A plummeting currency, rising inflation and sagging oil prices — that’s the stuff Vladimir Putin’s nightmares are probably made of.
The former KGB operative has staked his reputation for years on Russia’s spectacular economic growth throughout the 2000s, thanks to its dependence on increasingly lucrative energy exports.
As the price of oil, Russia’s most important export, climbed from $16 a barrel in 1999 to more than $140 in 2008, a new middle class enjoyed the fruits of prosperity, eagerly burying the memories of the impoverished 1990s.
But as the Kremlin now lords over Ukraine and stares down the West, Putin’s nationalist gambit is finally being felt on the home front, threatening the central notion that’s helped keep him in power so long.
“The myth of ‘stability’ has now been broken,” says Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Vladimir Putin worst nightmare may be happening right now
Ulrich Baungarten | Getty Images
Russian rubles on display in front of a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While Putin’s grip on power is still far from tenuous, the steady stream of gloomy economic news is probably causing at least some concern in the Kremlin.
The effects of Western sanctions and steady drop in global oil prices to a five-year low of below $70 this week are costing Russia some $140 billion annually, according to the government’s own estimates.
Russian officials on Tuesday warned the country faces a recession in 2015 that could see the economy shrink for the first time in five years.
They believe it will contract by 0.8 percent next year, down from a previous estimate of 1.2 percent growth.
Ordinary Russians have watched as their currency lost nearly 40 percent of its value since the beginning of the year. They can also expect double-digit inflation by early next year, officials predict.
Taken together, these stats are why Putin has long stopped trumpeting his country’s economic statistics in order to boost popular support, says Alexander Baunov, an editor of one of Russia’s only remaining independent news outlets.
Instead, the third-term president harps on the historical injustices he claims Russia has suffered at the hands of foreign powers, part of a nationalist drive casting his country as a bulwark against the West and shielding him from domestic contempt.
One of the Key lessons that Putin has yet to learn is that he needs Europe to like him. The current pressure on Russia will bring him to realise he needs to be on good terms with Europe for not only enconomic reasons but for political reasons also. The Bible says that Russia will become a “guard’ to Europe, this might well happen if Russia joins Nato and in large part takes over from America who must withdraw from Europe. This withdrawal may pick up pace when Britain withdraws from the EU and turns to the Commonwealth Countries to re-ignite who global influence.
Yet again we see the latter day alignment of Nations as Prophesied by the Bible falling into place before our very eyes.
See this article to learn more about this and the latter day prophecies of the Bible.