Just a few weeks ago, a growing number of experts was telling media that Russia was on the brink of collapse to the point that even President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power would likely be in jeopardy soon. Some of them even warned that a coup could be brewing behind the scenes, possibly staged by some oligarchic clans unhappy with the ongoing Russian economy’s slippery slope. Flawed with a too West-centered viewpoint, the facts have invalidated their assessment to a large extent so far. The popularity of Putin among the Russian people has been steady all along, hovering around 70 to 75 percent of satisfactory opinion.
True, the Russian economy has been hardly hit (and remains so) by both sanctions regarding Ukraine and the simultaneous Oil-Ruble’s free fall. Russia’s economic growth perspectives have rarely seemed so gloomy and foreign – mostly western – funds have fled the Russian market in large proportions. However the impending collapse has yet to be seen. The Ruble (RUB) has recovered 33% of its general value after reaching its lowest level against the US dollar (USD) on January 30, 2015. “A failure in speculation the press won’t talk about,” French economist Jacques Sapir wrote. Crude oil (CL, WTI) has bounced back from a decades-low point of $44 to $52 per barrel in 3 weeks.
The Minsk accord on Ukraine has been globally respected, and such a status quo has been good for Russia’s interests. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Moscow may have widened a breach within the EU through which Russia may creep in more easily. Business is business, and Russia has continued deepening its comprehensive strategic partnership with China. US-Iran rapprochement in Lausanne has green-lighted the Russian government’s delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran, and in every foreign policy issues Russia has been directly involved, the trend has globally been her friend. In short, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.