• 15 Jan 2009 at 10:59 AM
  • FOREX

The Bear (Rug)

Poor Russia. All those dreams of greatness, renewed world position, and (dare we say it) power. For awhile there they looked realistic. Putin was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union President of the Russian Federation Prime Minister for life. Russia had adroitly dominated energy reserves and carved itself into a capitalist (sort of) power. Bear reconnaissance bombers began to harass U.S. naval vessels again, as well as testing the air defenses of the Northeast, to the surprise (and alarm) of the United States. One mission was such a surprise that the craft hit Pennsylvania before being intercepted. The pilots got medals. Someone at NEADS got reassigned to Alaska.
But it was not to be.
Now, with oil $30 a barrel below the budget-balancing level for Russia, and their inability to even blackmail the Ukraine and Europe with natural gas effectively, (no one believes they can leave the spigot off for very long) their dreams of power have slowly slipped away, and Putin, if you can imagine this, is politically vulnerable. The daunting health crisis they have been ignoring is making itself known in ugly ways (really their population is frightfully sickly) and their currency is heading back to 1998 levels as the central bank devalues it (again) this week.
It doesn’t help, of course, that concern over their little camping trip in Georgia sucked over $120-$200 billion of foreign investment out of the country. Inflation was over 13% in December.
Of course, the problem is, with circumstances like this, military conquest looks like a nice distraction.
We’re not long bomb shelters yet here, but that’s only because a certain Goldman partner (who shall remain nameless) promised us spots in his basement in the Hamptons.
Russian Ruble Slides to Pre-1998 Crisis Low; Forint, Zloty Sink [Bloomberg]

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Comments (24)

  1. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    Too Ivan, didn’t Drago.

  2. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    If he dies, he dies.

  3. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    during bull markets, russia is a power who threatens the world balance. in bear markets, russia resembles a colder haiti. get it together comrades.

  4. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    That’s the funny thing with bomb shelters. If you tell people you have one, then when you need to use it there will be 50 people outside banging on your door begging to be let in.

  5. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    If I can change, YOU can change; EVERYBODY can change!

  6. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    @1 – I MUST BREAK YOU!

  7. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    Med/Put should privatize the businesses it acquired let them build themselves back up to proftable levels through organized crime-then reaquire them.

  8. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    @4, only until the bomb hits.

  9. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Great article EP.

  10. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Joke’s on you! Gerry’s beach house doesn’t have a basement!

  11. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    Russians are just hillbillies who talk funny and use some letters dackwarbs. I like them.

  12. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    Ken Lewis is a mental case.

  13. Posted by Cantillon | January 15, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Military conquest requires a military capable of something more than minor regional engagements. Like slaughtering some Chechnyans or smacking down Georgia’s half-assed army.
    Russia’s military is a joke.

  14. Posted by KevinB | January 15, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    @11 – “dackwarbs” – hilarious!

  15. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    Can someone provide proof of this bomber incident? A brief GNS didn’t turn anything up for me other than that dealbreaker is considered a news site by google.

  16. Posted by Conflicts of disinterest | January 15, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    The Hamptons are downwind, EP. Best to head upstate, beyond the pines, the bear has no interest in Schenectady plus its closer to Canada

  17. Posted by Equity Private | January 15, 2009 at 1:03 PM

    “The Hamptons are downwind, EP.”
    The vast majority of fallout is depleted in two weeks, unless some psycho does cobalt salting (5+ year half life). I’ve been snowed-in in Austria for longer. As long as it (and the company) is warm, no sweat!

  18. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    what a buch of douchebags

  19. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Can someone provide proof of this bomber incident? A brief GNS didn’t turn anything up for me other than that dealbreaker is considered a news site by google.

  20. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    the post is a very poor attempt by an imbecile who things he knows how world politics works. if i need a polit breakdown i’ll read something else; for street gossip you are #1, but stay away from politics, you are embarrassing yourself.

  21. Posted by chernevik | January 15, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    Let’s not fight the last war.
    Russian nukes were initially a first strike deterrent and a political counterpoise. In the 60s they became an effort to detach the US from its European allies, thwarted by the NATO structure and the placement of intermediate and battlefield nukes.
    It’s going to be a long time before the Russians can afford an army that can threaten Europe to begin with. Even if they did, a unified, rebuilt Germany probably wouldn’t need our help anyway.
    Russia will be a real problem for its neighbors, but they won’t be nuking us. I’m much more worried about the Iranian scenarios.
    PS I hope the incompetent is cleaning toilets in Alaska, it’s the last place we’d want a bad radar operator.

  22. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    So we can expect to see lots more spam for russian mail order brides?

  23. Posted by guest | January 15, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Guys from my high school used to wait out radioactive fallout in a bomb shelter after nuclear holocaust all the time, it was no big deal.
    frat stud 17

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