Daily Telegraph (UK):
Oil arguably brought an end to the old Soviet Union and once again the price of crude is proving to be a curse for the Kremlin. The precipitous drop in oil prices recently has left Vladimir Putin’s Russia on the edge of economic ruin.
The Kremlin has warned of a severe slowdown next year, with the economy entering a technical recession in the first quarter.
The year started badly for Russia after the Ukraine crisis boiled over and triggered capital flight and tough economic sanctions. Now a collapse in oil prices – down 45% since June – has become primary cause of Russian pain.
'This just looks ugly, period,' said Jonathan Anderson, of Emerging Advisors, in a recent note to clients. Jacob Nell, of Morgan Stanley, said: 'Since oil and gas account for 67% of Russia’s exports and 50% of federal budget revenues, oil prices drive the country’s economic cycle'...