“…The war will start and end on the stock exchanges,” wrote “Nashi Hroshi” on March 10, commenting on the most likely development of the conflict of interests between Russia and the United States that erupted on the Crimean soil.
And thanks to reports from the oil stock exchanges as of March 13, and unfolded in this context events, we have the audacity to assert: Russia has already lost.
It became known on March 13 that the United States dumped oil from its strategic reserves into the market for the first time since 1990. An entire 5 million barrels went for sale, which is only 1% of US stocks. But the effect has surpassed all expectations – crude oil futures fell 2% – up to $98 in New York.
This is fatal For the Russian Federation. The death certainly will not be an instantaneous one, not here and now, but in the very near future.
The matter is in the price of oil: profits from the trade account for almost half of the Russian budget. The Kremlin has pledged the price of oil $102 into their budget. Falling below this level means failure of the budget. And the situation with Russian economy is very bad. Capital is fleeing the country; foreign banks may demand the return of Russian debtors loans for $650 billion at any moment, while the Russian Federation’s gold and foreign currency reserves are account for $500 billion. Even Putin’s personal economist admitted that the situation is rotten. In general, the Kremlin can’t maneuver without oil.
On March 13, even Angela Merkel overlaid Russia with a three-tier threat of sanctions: if Putin will not react to the blocking of accounts and visa restrictions, than economic sanctions will be used. At the same time, the Chancellor carefully warned that Germany has nothing to be blackmailed with. The Russian share in Germany’s gas consumption of was reduced to 35%.
However, Merkel did not explicitly state that Putin is a full impotent and can naff to his birches to weep his bitter fate of an unfortunate aggressor – this is still big politics. Especially that her previous estimate of Putin as a person detached from reality already gave a reason to talk about the schizophrenia/paranoia/mental illness that the president had recently developed.
The US officials acted likewise, collapsing oil prices but stating that it has nothing to do with the Ukrainian crisis.
Well, let’s leave it as ‘not related’. What happened afterwards is more important. Today, Putin urgently gathered his oligarchs to “talk about life under international sanctions.” What they agreed upon is unknown. But thereafter Putin gave speech at the Security Council meeting with the next words, which he never pronounced in the two weeks of war:
“We cannot ignore the events that develop in Ukraine, Crimea, and everything that has to do with this difficult problem that arose, I want to stress, not by our fault. This crisis emerged, and we are involved in it in one way or another. I note that this is primarily a Ukrainian domestic crisis. Unfortunately, we all understand that we were somehow drawn into these events. Let’s think together on how we should build relationships with our partners and friends in Ukraine, and with our other partners in Europe and in the United States,” – informed the Kremlin press service.
Important: for the first time Putin has said, that Russia was dragged into this situation by some kind of third party, and not by Putin himself or ‘baderites’.
Important: for the first time Putin called it “the Ukrainian domestic crisis.”
Important: for the first time Putin suggested relations with Europe and the United States to be taken into account.
Just at the same time Putin’s agent Viktor Medvedchuk issued a statement in which he allowed himself a tough ride over Yanukovych: “The President that allowed a civil confrontation and deaths has lost his moral right to be the head of a state. In 2004, the most important task for the authorities was to prevent bloodshed, violence and casualties during the protests. And we were able to do it. There is only one scenario for Yanukovych to return to Ukraine. He must stand before a trial,” – said the godfather of the Russian president’s child.
In fact, this means only one thing. That bastard Yanukovych dragged Russia into this Crimean War, and he will be responsible for this if anything happens.
Apparently, this is Putin’s exit strategy from the war in Crimea. In fact, everything formally began with Yanukovych’s statements that were shown by the Russian representatives in the UN. By eliminating the formal reason, Putin seeks to come out of the situation with his peaceful image intact, as if he was the Ukrainians’ friend deceived in his best intentions.
Translate by Borys Vasylyshyn, edited by Alya Shandra