When Russia invaded and occupied the Crimean Peninsula earlier in the year, the Ruble fell to its lowest level ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, passing 37 to the dollar. At the time, a currency trader in Moscow remarked to the press, “If these idiots are not careful, the Ruble will hit 40.”
After a period of relative calm when the West acquiesced to the Crimean invasion, the Russian stock market rebounded along with the currency. However, the new Russian invasion of East Ukraine has pushed the Ruble to an even lower level, approaching 38 to the USD.
The Russian stock market has also fallen in double digit levels even as the global emerging market index has risen significantly. President Putin’s ban on European and American food imports will, over time, curb a Muscovite’s ability to enjoy a fine meal in a swanky downtown restaurant as they have become accustomed to. Inflation is growing, and the central bank may have to raise interest rates again this month to combat.
In spite of all these issues, Russian forces continue to pour into Ukraine with equipment and armor. Putin just doesn’t care about the economic impact on his citizens. His approval ratings are above 80 percent. The Russian public is used to suffering and almost wears this pain as a badge of honor against the West.
The Kremlin propaganda has been very effective in painting this entire conflict as a noble Russian struggle against a vile, diabolical West and Ukrainian Nazis who love to crucify children. The Russian people believe it because they want to.
One historian commented recently that the happiest he ever saw the Soviet people was when they invaded Hungary in the 1950s. Russia will bear the economic hardship. They will fly inferior, Russian built jets instead of a Boeing aircraft or Airbus. They will eat Russian produce and cheese. They will sip Russian tea instead of English. They will eat buckwheat instead of cous cous. And they will watch their government slowly defeat the will of the former Soviet republics to resist the wrath of the Kremlin and cheer.
A new Eurasian economic block will be stood up that will be more powerful economically than the Soviet Union ever was. Call it fascist capitalism on hydrocarbon steroids, with a strong, aggressive military to boot.
This is what the Obama administration fails to realize or willfully ignores, all of their hashtag, sorority girl diplomacy not-withstanding. The sooner we can elect a strong American leader as president, who can persuade the Europeans to stand up to this new aggressive, nationalist Russia bursting with imperial enthusiasm, the better off we all will be.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom