“What happened in Crimea was a terrible thing. What happened in Ukraine was a tragedy. What is happening in Russia now is a threat to the global order.”
As the ruble plummets, there is a degree of satisfaction and even relish in the West at the sight of Russia’s difficulties. The balloon of Putin’s strategic genius is rapidly deflating in the face of harsh economic realities: now the Russians will be put in their place.
Today’s Russia is not the Soviet behemoth, comparatively disconnected from the world economy. Nor is it the struggling reform economy of the 1990s. It is the world’s eighth largest economy, well integrated into the global marketplace. If Russia goes into a prolonged recession, it is not just Russia itself that bears the consequences—it will be the rest of the world as well. First in line is the European Union, whose member states—some barely emerging from recession—have extensive trade links with Russia. Continue reading