The Duck of Minerva

Will the markets tame Russia?

3 March 2014

I don’t have an answer for this, as I’m not sure how globally integrated Russia is in to the world economy at this juncture or vulnerable given its fossil fuel resources, but I, along with anyone who knows how to buy shares see that the Russian stockmarket declined this morning as has the value of the ruble.

I know Russia experienced significant economic crises in the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union that made it dependent on IMF support, but my sense is that the resurgence of the country’s petro economy bolstered its international economic position. That said, I wonder if the markets can tame Putin in a way that politicians can’t. My bet is that if Putin is willing to tolerate high costs, then no, but I’d welcome our readers with more regional knowledge to weigh in. 

The website Quartz recorded the sell-off:

The two main Moscow stock markets, the Micex and the RTS, have fallen by more than 10% at the time of writing, in a broad-based selloff. Big Russian companies like Gazprom and Sberbank saw their share prices plunge as traders dumped their shares.

Here’s another tweet from a BBC journalist that put it in perspective.

We know that interdependence prior to WWI did not deter a war then. Maybe Norman Angell wasn’t right then, but maybe he will be now.