Former Russian prime minister Evgeny Primakov warned that, if Vladimir Putin continues his Ukraine policies, Russia will become a pariah third-world petro state. The fundamentals of the Russian economy, as it enters 2015, suggest that Russia is fulfilling Primakov’s prophesy. Russia’s fate depends on economic factors beyond its control (energy prices and gas markets) and on Putin’s continued international adventurism, which he is loath to abandon for fear of regime change. Putin can no longer keep his promise to the Russian people of prosperity and stability. No wonder his propagandists are fighting full time to convince the West to drop its sanctions. Unlike the 2008/9 financial crisis, Russia faces a long and deep recession because the underlying causes are unlikely to go away in the near term.
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