Russia (News/Activism)

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  • Romney urges Sony Pictures: Fight back and release “The Interview” for free online

    12/18/2014 10:13:05 AM PST · by Kaslin · 58 replies
    Hot Air.com ^ | December 18, 2014 | ALLAHPUNDIT
    By gum, he sounds like presidential material to me. Your move, Jeb. .@SonyPictures don’t cave, fight: release @TheInterview free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight #Ebola.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 18, 2014 More than 13,000 retweets as I write this. Clearly there’s a demand for countermeasures among an American public that doesn’t like the idea of foreigners, especially savages like the Kim cabal, holding veto power over their culture. (Too bad China, Kim’s chief patron, already sort of does.) Am I right, though, in thinking that no major Republican pol aside from Romney has said anything...
  • Paul: Trade With Cuba 'Probably a Good Idea'

    12/18/2014 9:19:23 AM PST · by SoConPubbie · 29 replies
    ASSOCIATED PRESS ^ | DEC 18, 2014, 11:54 A.M. E.S.T.
    WASHINGTON — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that starting to trade with Cuba "is probably a good idea" and that the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island "just hasn't worked." Paul became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama's decision to try to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. The president's surprise announcement on Wednesday was slammed by several potential GOP candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who said it amounted to appeasing the Castro regime. Paul said in a radio interview with Tom Roten of...
  • Rand Paul backs Obama on Cuba

    12/18/2014 3:05:33 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 42 replies
    WDIV-TV / CNN ^ | December 18, 2014 | Jeremy Diamond, CNN
    Sen. Rand Paul broke with the field of Republicans considering a 2016 presidential run on Thursday, calling President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba a "good idea" since the American embargo against Cuba "just hasn't worked." Paul, a likely presidential candidate, made the remarks in an interview with News Talk 800 WVHU's Tom Roten, just a day after his potential competitors for the Republican nomination -- former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz -- slammed the decision to normalize relations as a dangerous move. Rubio and Cruz are sons of Cuban immigrants. Paul...
  • Rand Paul Breaks With Rubio and Bush Over Cuba

    12/18/2014 6:21:36 PM PST · by Steelfish · 67 replies
    NBCNews ^ | December 18, 2014
    Rand Paul Breaks With Rubio and Bush Over Cuba Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is the latest potential presidential candidate to weigh in on policy changes to Cuba and the libertarian leaning Republican's position splits from other Republicans who are also considering a presidential run. Paul told Tom Roten of News Talk 800 in West Virginia that the 50-year embargo "just hasn't worked" and normalizing relations with the island nation is "probably a good idea." "If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime...
  • The West Should Not Let Russia Fall Apart

    12/19/2014 3:23:15 AM PST · by edpc · 13 replies
    Fortune ^ | 18 Dec 2014 | Cyrus Sinati
    The West shouldn’t stoke the fires engulfing Russia’s wounded economy. Talk in Washington and Brussels this week of levying further economic sanctions on Russia seems counterproductive and will only make matters worse for all parties involved. Like it or not, Russia’s economy has grown simply “too big to fail,” and its political and military might is too dangerous to ignore. The West might have better luck in advancing its goals in the region by helping, not hurting, the Russian bear in its time of need.
  • On Cuba, Obama Had An Ace, And Played A Deuce

    12/18/2014 3:50:48 PM PST · by jazusamo · 23 replies
    Investors.com ^ | December 18, 2014 | IBD Editorial
    Diplomacy: As the Castros rejoice at President Obama's move to normalize ties, extend trade credits, take their country off the terror list and free its deadly spies, the queasy question remains: What did the U.S. get in return? The question is being asked by the more serious leaders in Washington. Marco Rubio for one. "(Obama's) foreign policy is, at a minimum, naive and perhaps truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region," said the Florida senator in the wake of the giveaway. "Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we've had as president since at least Jimmy Carter,...
  • Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    12/17/2014 7:43:11 PM PST · by Olog-hai · 6 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Dec 17, 2014 5:40 PM EST | Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee
    Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to “think big” about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing. The nuclear negotiations with Iran continue and are far from a guaranteed success. But Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will normalize relations after more than 50 years of hostility suggests one of the last chapters...
  • Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

    12/19/2014 1:49:17 AM PST · by Berlin_Freeper · 27 replies
    AP ^ | December 18, 2014 | LAURA MILLS and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
    Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years. While he issued a litany of sharp rebukes against the West, Putin struck a conciliatory note on Ukraine, saying that the rebellious east should remain part of the country, backing a quick exchange of war prisoners and praising his Ukrainian counterpart. The mixture of blistering anti-Western rhetoric and constructive signals appeared to indicate that Putin is eager to negotiate a face-saving solution to the Ukrainian crisis, but has no...
  • Will Russian ruble collapse trigger a military coup against Vladimir Putin?

    12/19/2014 1:36:24 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 11 replies
    IBT ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Gianluca Mezzofiore
    Russia's shock-and-awe raise of interest rates from 10.5 to 17% has put the legitimacy and viability of president Vladimir Putin under serious strain, with the real danger of a military coup as the worst case scenario, according to a leading Kremlinologist. The central bank's desperate attempt to shore up support for the ruble, which has plummeted 50% on the year against the dollar, is unlikely to work beyond the short term. Russia's economy needs lower interest rates to boost growth, but its companies need higher interest rates to support the ruble. The 17% rates are likely to send Russia's spluttering...
  • Russia Angling for Share In Israeli Natural Gas [Ezekiel 39-39]

    12/18/2014 12:15:51 PM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 5 replies
    Hamodia ^ | 06/08/2014 | Hamodia Staff
    YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) - Russia wants in on the Israeli natural gas boom, but the U.S. wants them to stay out, and that’s why they haven’t made progress negotiating with the Israelis, ambassador to Israel Sergey Yakovlev hinted in an interview with Globes. Russia has been seeking entry into the Mediterranean gas fields for some time, but so far to no avail. Gazprom, for one, showed interest in becoming a partner in the Leviathan reserve, one of the most important in the Mediterranean Sea, but nothing substantive came of it...
  • Army surveillance over Maryland: Giant blimps to begin three-year test

    12/18/2014 10:07:23 AM PST · by Tolerance Sucks Rocks · 31 replies
    The Washington Times ^ | December 17, 2014 | Douglas Ernst
    One of the U.S. Army’s giant surveillance blimps will rise to 10,000 feet above Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland on Friday for a three-year test. A second aircraft will begin testing in January. The Army’s Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS), which is built by Raytheon, will be tested for its ability to identify incoming enemy aircraft. “This will enable senior defense officials to support a determination whether to transition JLENS capabilities to an enduring mission at the conclusion of the three-year operational exercise,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement on...
  • Oil drop sends major central banks in different directions

    12/18/2014 6:58:19 AM PST · by mac_truck · 2 replies
    Reuters ^ | 12/18/2014 | Paul Carrel, Mike Peacock and Howard Schneider
    The world's major central banks are scrambling to work through the implications of the near halving of the price of oil in the second half of 2014, and they are coming up with very different conclusions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, policymakers looking at robust economic recoveries such as in the United States and Britain are focused on the likely boost to growth and consumption from markedly lower energy prices and the later upward impact that should have on inflation. But for the European Central Bank, battling to revive a moribund economy, the worry is whether cheap oil could tip the euro zone...
  • Putin Gave A Surreal End-Of-Year News Conference

    12/18/2014 7:43:46 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 43 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 12/18/2014 | Pamela Engel
    Russian President Vladimir Putin held a three-hour news conference on Thursday, speaking about his country's economy and the collapse of the ruble.The interview — which had a bunch of bizarre and clever moments — also addressed Russia's conflicts with the West.Several English-speaking journalists, including Max Seddon of BuzzFeed and Paul Sonne of The Wall Street Journal, tweeted translations of Putin's statements, and NBC News carried a live stream with translation.Here are some highlights: Putin insisted that growth was "inevitable" and that Russia could dig out of its economic crisis in two years at most.He refused to call the ruble's collapse...
  • Switzerland brings in negative interest rates to keep Swiss franc weaker as Russia mayhem prompts

    12/18/2014 7:09:33 AM PST · by C19fan · 11 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | December 18, 2014 | Tanya Jefferies
    The Swiss central bank plans to charge depositors a 'negative' interest rate of -0.25 per cent to discourage spooked investors from using it to shelter their cash. Money has flooded into Switzerland as market turbulence caused by the Russian rouble collapse and oil price slide has prompted a desperate search for safe havens in recent days. The Swiss National Bank said it would slash its interest rate on balances of over 10million Swiss francs from January 22 - effectively imposing a charge on depositors wanting to hold francs in a bid to keep its currency artificially weak against the euro.
  • Russian ruble weakens as traders see no major measures in Putin speech

    12/18/2014 4:29:48 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 20 replies
    Reuters ^ | Alexander Winning and Vladimir Abramov
    The ruble weakened against the dollar and euro on Thursday with traders saying President Vladimir Putin had so far offered no concrete measures to pull Russia out of a crisis at his end-of-year news conference. At 0954 GMT (04:54 a.m. EST), the ruble was around 3 percent weaker against the dollar at 62.04 RUBUTSTN=MCX after opening more than 1 percent higher. The rouble was also around 2 percent weaker versus the euro at 76.50 EURRUBTN=MCX on the Moscow Exchange.
  • Putin reassures Russians ruble will rise again (That's the ticket.)

    12/18/2014 2:58:43 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 6 replies
    Reuters ^ | 18 Dec 14 | Timothy Heritage and Alexei Anishchuk
    President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia’s economy would rebound after the ruble’s collapse against the dollar but warned that it could take two years for the country to emerge from crisis. Under pressure to show he has a plan to pull Russia out of crisis at his end-of-year news conference, Putin supported the actions of the central bank and government in a crisis he blamed on external factors but said further measures would be required. ......................................................... Putin had been silent as the currency collapsed this week before recovering some ground. A prominent opponent, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, said...
  • Russians training on Mistral warship ‘to leave France’

    12/18/2014 12:29:31 AM PST · by WhiskeyX · 2 replies
    FRANCE 24 ^ | 2014-12-17 | FRANCE 24
    Some 400 Russian sailors training on a Mistral-class warship France controversially built for their navy will be returning home for an unspecified amount of time, the ship’s French builder has said.
  • Poll: 80 Percent Back Putin Even as Ruble Falls

    12/17/2014 9:25:50 PM PST · by Bettyprob · 65 replies
    The New York Times ^ | Dec. 18, 2014 | The Associated Press
    MOSCOW — From a Western perspective, Vladimir Putin's days as president of Russia should be numbered: The ruble has lost more than half its value, the economy is in crisis and his aggression in Ukraine has turned the country into an international pariah. And yet most Russians see Putin not as the cause, but as the solution. The situation as seen from a Russian point of view is starkly different from that painted in the West, and it is driven largely by state television's carefully constructed version of reality and the Kremlin's methodical dismantling of every credible political alternative. As...
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold

    12/17/2014 1:49:34 PM PST · by OneLoyalAmerican · 26 replies
    Zerohedge ^ | Tyler Durden | 12/17/2014
    "Russia is at a critical juncture and given the sanctions placed upon them and the rapid decline in oil prices, they may be forced to dip into their gold reserves, if it happens it will push gold lower." That is what, according to some people Bloomberg has quoted, is in the cards.
  • Is Ruble Collapse Act of War-Paul Craig Roberts

    12/17/2014 12:58:34 PM PST · by GilGil · 46 replies
    USAWatchDog ^ | 12/17/2014 | Paul Craig Roberts
    On the teetering economy and possible economic collapse, Dr. Roberts says, “We know something serious is wrong. The only provision of Dodd-Frank that has any teeth is the provision that says if the big banks are going to be casinos and gamble on derivatives, they cannot do that in the depository institution where depositors have their accounts. They have to farm it out into subsidiaries. So, if the subsidiaries get into trouble, the subsidiaries have no access to depositors’ money. This is the only real reform part of Dodd-Frank. Citigroup got put into the recent spending bill, the repeal of...
  • Panic on the streets of Russia: Worried shoppers queue to panic-buy big-ticket items amid fears

    12/17/2014 8:33:35 AM PST · by C19fan · 53 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | Decemeber 17, 2014 | Chris Pleasance
    Russia shoppers have been panic-buying everything from cars to flat pack furniture today after stores warned of price hikes at the weekend following a sharp fall in the value of the rouble. Several Ikea stores have been forced to close after the company warned its prices will go up from tomorrow, while cars and home appliances have been bought in record numbers. The rouble has slid 15 per cent in just two days, hitting an all-time low of 80 to the dollar at one point yesterday, prompting fears of a run on Russian banks.
  • What the Hell Is a “Conventional Currency Unit?” (Russia)

    12/17/2014 8:02:58 AM PST · by C19fan · 6 replies
    Vocatix ^ | December 16, 2014 | Sarah Kaufman
    Russians are saying “ooh yeh” to the collapse of their currency, but it’s not as positive as it might sound to Western ears. As the value of the ruble goes into free fall, Russians are preparing for a return to the economic chaos of the ’90s. At a retail level, it means that store managers across Russia are rewriting their price tags in a currency Russians call a “conventional currency unit.” In Russian, the phrase for “conventional currency unit” is uslovnaya yedinitsa—abbreviated to an acronym pronounced ooh yeh.
  • "Ripped our guts again": Family that lost relatives in Flight 370 loses another in Ukraine crash

    07/18/2014 2:35:37 PM PDT · by Responsibility2nd · 6 replies
    CBS/AP ^ | 07/18/2014
    Relatives, friends and colleagues paid tribute Friday to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash victims even before the airline released their names as it scrambled to contact the next of kin of the victims. For one Australian family, the crash represented an almost unbelievable double tragedy. Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed on Flight 17. "It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, Mann's brother. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."
  • Russia Is Throwing The Kitchen Sink At The Ruble To Try To Stop Its Collapse

    12/17/2014 5:18:08 AM PST · by blam · 10 replies
    BI ^ | 12-17-2014 | Mike Bird
    Mike Bird December 17, 2014 After a brutal sell-off Tuesday, the ruble shot up in early trading Wednesday morning, rising by nearly 7%, from 68 to the dollar to 63.16 at 8:09 a.m. GMT. The rise came as the Russian finance ministry intervened in the currency market, according to Bloomberg. That means it's selling off a chunk of its dollar reserves to buy rubles, driving the currency's value up. By 9 a.m., though, the exchange rate fell back to where it started, and the ruble is falling again: down 0.68% at 68.51 as of 10:15 a.m. GMT. Here's how the...
  • Russians Are Scrambling To Get Their Hands On US Dollars

    12/16/2014 10:05:30 PM PST · by blam · 49 replies
    BI ^ | 12-17-2014 | Elena Holodny
    Elena Holodny December 16, 2014As Russia's currency crisis unfolds, Russians are scrambling to get their hands on US dollars. Even Russians working in the oil sector are rushing to trade their rubles in for dollars. A bank in Russia's Khanty-Mansiysk region — aka an area in Russia that produces approximately 51% of Russian oil — has completely run out of dollars, and is almost out of euros, reports Interfax. The bank still has rubles. "Basically, what this means is that people who work in the oil industry [in Khanty-Mansiysk] just got all of their money out of the bank in...
  • RUSSIA'S SINKING ECONOMY BECOMING A GLOBAL THREAT

    12/16/2014 3:14:47 PM PST · by Star Traveler · 87 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Josh Boak
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Russia's suddenly escalating financial crisis risks spilling beyond its borders and endangering parts of the global economy. With economies in Europe, Japan, China and Latin America already ailing, fresh threats have emerged from Russia's shriveled currency, its move to dramatically boost interest rates, the damage from plummeting oil prices and Western sanctions over Russia's action in Ukraine. The alarming 10 percent drop in the ruble over the past two days has amplified the economic turmoil in Russia. Investors fear that Russia may default on its foreign debt obligations - a move that would inflict hundreds of billions...
  • Russia risks Soviet-style collapse as rouble defence fails

    12/17/2014 4:51:27 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 31 replies
    Daily Telegraph ^ | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    Russia has lost control of its economy and may be forced to impose Soviet-style exchange controls after "shock and awe" action by the central bank failed to stem the collapse of the rouble. “The situation is critical,” said the central bank’s vice-chairman, Sergei Shvetsov. “What is happening is a nightmare that we could not even have imagined a year ago."
  • Oil Prices, Sanctions and Currency Collapse Put Putin in a Bind

    12/17/2014 4:37:09 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 10 replies
    NBC ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Erin McClam
    Vladimir Putin is suddenly feeling the squeeze. The Russian president, earlier this year a swashbuckling land-grabber who seemed to confound the West, finds himself in a three-way economic vise — tumbling oil prices, punishing sanctions and now a collapse in his country's currency. "He really is going to be hit by a perfect storm," said Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. "Although much of it is his own making." The value of the Russian ruble plunged by as much as 20 percent on Tuesday despite a desperate attempt by the central...
  • Vladimir Putin's woes are about to get worse

    12/17/2014 4:26:55 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 20 replies
    CNN ^ | 17 Dec 14 | Frida Ghitis
    What would you do if you were Vladimir Putin? What would you do if you were a Russian citizen? Russia's economic problems -- slowly incubating in recent months -- are about to get a lot worse. And that should make all of us nervous.
  • Russian ruble suffers new fall but the collapse slows

    12/17/2014 4:01:33 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 11 replies
    Reuters ^ | 17 Dec 14 | Vladimir Abramov and Alexander Winning
    The dramatic fall in Russia's ruble slowed on Wednesday, with the government selling foreign currency to prop it up after a 50 percent fall against the dollar this year. Losses were partly contained by exporters selling dollars in preparation for paying their monthly tax bills but the slide was less precipitous than in the past two days when it fell about 20 percent against the dollar. At 0508 ET, the ruble was down around 1.6 percent against the dollar at 68.58 rubles per dollar and was 0.3 percent weaker versus the euro at 85.40.
  • The Ruble’s Fall and Mr. Putin’s Reckoning

    12/17/2014 12:35:04 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 40 replies
    NYT ^ | 16 Dec 14 | OP ED
    Russians are watching their country suffer another avoidable economic calamity. The blame for this rests largely with the disastrous policies of President Vladimir Putin, who has consistently put his ego, his territorial ambitions and the financial interests of his cronies ahead of the needs of his country. ........................................................ Long before he annexed the Crimean peninsula and began backing pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin created an economic system that allowed a coterie of insiders to grow wealthy on Russia’s vast oil and gas reserves. He did little to diversify the economy or to make it more resilient. Now Russian...
  • Lithuanian archbishop worried Russian will move against Baltic states

    12/16/2014 3:23:00 PM PST · by Tailgunner Joe · 9 replies
    catholicsentinel.org ^ | December 16, 2014
    WARSAW, Poland — A top Baltic church leader voiced concern about possible Russian aggression against Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and appealed to Western Catholics to be better informed about the situation. "We're in the front line, and Russia has made its intentions clear. While we feel NATO's support, we know the front could move forward if the international community fails to stand firm," said Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, president of the Lithuanian bishops' conference. "What isn't fully realized in the West is that the information and propaganda war which preceded the military action against Ukraine is very much underway...
  • Putin's cronies lose $50 billion

    12/16/2014 1:45:51 PM PST · by elhombrelibre · 58 replies
    CNN ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Ivana Kottasova
    Ouch! Russian billionaires have lost more than $50 billion this year due to the country's unfolding economic nightmare. Western sanctions, low oil prices and the falling ruble have wiped billions off the wealth of Russia's 15 richest men, according to data from Bloomberg. The chairman of Russian gas producer Novatek has suffered the biggest losses, seeing his portfolio shrink by an estimated $8.7 billion. That's equivalent to a loss of nearly 50%.
  • Iran Is Basically Running The Iraqi Government's Air War Against ISIS

    12/16/2014 11:07:12 AM PST · by tcrlaf · 11 replies
    BI ^ | 12-16-2014 | Joel Wing
    In November 2014 an Iranian jet was filmed carrying out a bombing mission in Iraq’s Diyala province. Iran was already known to have mobilized its militia allies, sent in advisers and military equipment, and brought in Lebanon’s Hezbollah to help Baghdad. General Qasim Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, is all over social media with pictures showing him providing leadership to Iraqi forces.
  • Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Iran and Russia

    12/16/2014 11:13:56 AM PST · by Star Traveler · 47 replies
    The New York Post ^ | Sunday, December 14, 2014 | Ralph Peters
    This week, oil fell through the price floor of $60 a barrel and gas at my local filling station was $2.26 a gallon. That’s great news for commuters and almost every business, but wonderfully bad news for our ugliest enemies. This price plunge has been driven by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s dominant power. While it’s true that part of Riyadh’s actions respond to the energy renaissance in North America, the greater motivation is breaking Iran’s will. The Saudis believe they can no longer rely on the US to contain Tehran’s imminent nuclear threat, so they’re out to do what our lukewarm...
  • Sense or Sabotage? Russia's Central Bank Takes Flak for Interest Rate Hike

    12/16/2014 1:22:46 PM PST · by Tailgunner Joe · 25 replies
    themoscowtimes.com ^ | December 16, 2014 | Delphine d'Amora
    The Central Bank's midnight decision to hike Russia's key interest rate to 17 percent set off clashing waves of support and opprobrium Tuesday as Russia struggled to come to terms with its new economic reality. The regulator's decision to raise rates by 6.5 percent followed the ruble's 10 percent nosedive against the U.S. dollar on Monday, its steepest single-day decline since the financial crisis of 1998. Despite the measure, the Russian currency fell sharply on Tuesday, at one point weakening 20 percent to touch a new low of 80 rubles to the dollar. Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, oil...
  • Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov wants to quit his high post to go to help militias in Donbas

    12/16/2014 1:18:18 PM PST · by Tailgunner Joe · 3 replies
    itar-tass.com ^ | December 16, 2014
    MOSCOW, December 16 /TASS/. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Tuesday that he wanted to quit his high state post and leave for Ukraine’s Donbas region to help the local militias, the NTV channel reported on its website. Commenting on initiation of criminal proceedings against him in Ukraine and Kiev’s threats to put him on the international wanted list, Kadyrov told NTV’s “Bez Kupyur” (Without Banknotes) program that they could keep wagging their tongues for as long as they liked. “They can keep saying whatever they like. But I am going to ask the (Russian) president for permission to quit...
  • New Russia Sanctions Bill Will Be Signed by Obama, White House Says

    12/16/2014 11:58:27 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 71 replies
    NYT ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Peter Baker
    WASHINGTON — President Obama has decided to sign legislation imposing further sanctions on Russia and authorizing additional aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it will complicate his efforts to maintain a unified front with European allies, the White House said on Tuesday. The legislation calls for a raft of new measures penalizing Russia’s military and energy sectors and authorizes $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including antitank weapons, tactical surveillance drones and counter-artillery radar. The bill was approved unanimously by Congress, but Mr. Obama hedged for days on whether he would sign it. Continue reading the main story Related...
  • Falling Ruble Drives Out Expats

    12/16/2014 11:13:12 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 15 replies
    MOSCOW TIMES ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Allison Quinn
    The Western sanctions hurled at Russia over its annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine may have had one unintended (or perhaps intended?) side effect — the mass exodus of foreigners earning money on the magically disappearing ruble. The Moscow Times conducted an informal poll among expatriates currently working in Russia, and the majority said they were considering leaving the country or were already on the way out because of the ongoing currency crisis. "The weak ruble just means that it's not worth my time anymore," said one expat working as an editor for a state-run news agency who requested...
  • Russia's ruble in free fall amid panic

    12/16/2014 11:07:01 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 29 replies
    USA TODAY | 16 Dec 14 | Anna Arutunyan
    Link only: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/12/16/russia-ruble-fall-oil-putin/20476411/
  • Autopsy on MP who criticized Russia (Germany; to rule out assassination)

    12/16/2014 8:27:58 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 5 replies
    TheLocal.de ^ | 16 Dec 2014 15:05 GMT+01:00 | (DPA/The Local)
    A court has ordered a postmortem on the body of politician Andreas Schockenhoff, a sharp critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, to squash rumors of foul play after his death on Saturday night. […] It had initially been reported that the 57-year-old Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MP had died of heart failure. Schockenhoff was coordinator of foreign policy towards Russia for the German government from 2006 until earlier this year. He was a hawkish voice in the debate over how to deal with Putin and often clashed with his successor Gernot Erler of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). …
  • Ruble Continues Its Decline in Russia, Despite Interest Rate Increase

    12/16/2014 5:30:05 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 15 replies
    NYT ^ | 16 Dec 14 | ANDREW E. KRAMERDEC
    MOSCOW — The ruble’s value continued to slide on Tuesday despite the Russian central bank’s extraordinary effort to defend it, inducing further panic in the nation’s financial industry and presenting President Vladimir V. Putin with an acute new set of political and economic challenges. Scenes that Russians hoped had receded into the past reappeared on the streets: Currency exchange signs blinked ever-changing digits, and Russians rushed to appliance stores to buy washing machines or televisions to unload rubles. “We are seeing an economic crisis,” Natalia V. Akindinova, a professor at the Higher School of Economics, said in a telephone interview....
  • Russian ruble suffers steepest drop in 16 years

    12/16/2014 4:41:16 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 76 replies
    (Reuters) - The ruble plunged more than 10 percent for the second day on Tuesday and recorded its worst fall since the Russian financial crisis in 1998 as confidence in the central bank evaporated after an ineffectual overnight rate hike. The rouble opened around 10 percent stronger against the dollar following the overnight 650-basis-point rate hike, but it reversed gains in early trade and fell to record lows, pushing losses this year against the dollar to over 50 percent. At 0637 ET, the rouble was down over 11 percent against the dollar at 73.00 after dipping past 74 rubles per...
  • Russian economy on the brink as emergency moves fail to shore up collapsing rouble

    12/16/2014 4:16:08 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 10 replies
    Daily Telegraph ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Peter Spence
    A brief rally in the rouble has ended, as an interest rate hike made in the dead of night has failed to restore investor faith in Russia's currency An overnight interest rate hike by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) led to a brief rally in the value of the rouble, but it hasn’t lasted long. Late on Monday the CBR announced that it was increasing its key rate by 6.5 percentage points to 17pc. The emergency move came as a monumental decline in oil prices and continued uncertainty over Ukraine has led the rouble to fall by more than...
  • Ruble Sinks to 70 a Dollar Defying Surprise Russia Rate Increase

    12/16/2014 3:54:46 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 5 replies
    Link only ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Vladimir Kuznetsov and Ksenia Galouchko
    Link only: Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/ruble-snaps-six-day-loss-on-surprise-rate-increase-to-17-percent.html
  • Russia's fast track to ruin

    12/16/2014 2:01:36 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 46 replies
    BBC ^ | 16 Dec 14 | Robert Peston
    Here are the numbers that explain why the Russian economy is imploding in the face of a tumbling oil price and Western sanctions. Oil and gas energy represents two thirds of exports of around $530bn (£339bn). Without them, Russia would have a massive deficit on its trade and financial dealings with the rest of the world - which is why Russia's central bank expects a capital outflow of well over $100bn this year and next.
  • Russian Ruble Crashes to World's Worst-Performing Currency

    The ruble collapsed by 10 percent against the U.S. dollar Monday earning the Russian currency the dubious laurels of the world’s worst-performing currency this year. The Russian currency has now fallen 49.3 percent against the greenback since January, according to data from the Moscow Exchange. The drop takes it below the Ukrainian hryvna, which has weakened 47.9 percent in 2014. Monday’s plunge was the largest single-day fall for the ruble since the financial crisis of 1998 when Russia was forced to default on its debt after exhausting its reserves in a fruitless bid to prop up the currency. In evening...
  • Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed

    12/15/2014 10:12:57 PM PST · by elhombrelibre · 156 replies
    Washington Post ^ | 15 Dec 14 | Matt O'Brien
    A funny thing happened on the way to Vladimir Putin running strategic laps around the West. Russia's economy imploded. The latest news is that Russia's central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent at an emergency 1 a.m. meeting in an attempt to stop the ruble, which is down 50 percent on the year against the dollar, from falling any further. It's a desperate move to save Russia's currency that comes at the cost of sacrificing Russia's economy. So even if it "works," things are about to get a lot worse. It's a classic kind of emerging markets...
  • Ruble jumps on Russia rate hike, oil pressured

    12/15/2014 7:54:01 PM PST · by Bettyprob · 1 replies
    Reuters ^ | December 15, 2014 | Lisa Twaronite
    (Reuters) - Sliding oil prices and a downbeat China factory survey weighed on Asian shares on Tuesday, while the ruble jumped against the dollar after Russia sharply increased its benchmark interest rate in a bid to halt a collapse in its currency. Activity in China's factory sector shrank in December for the first time in seven months as new orders declined, adding to a spate of data showing more fatigue in the world's second-largest economy and heightening expectations that more stimulus will be needed to avert a sharper economic slowdown. "Concerns about the Russian economy and a slowdown in the...
  • Russia’s Central Bank Abruptly Raises Key Rate to 17%

    12/15/2014 4:19:02 PM PST · by Oldeconomybuyer · 16 replies
    New York Times ^ | December 15, 2014 | By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
    MOSCOW — With Russia scrambling to contain a currency crisis, the country’s central bank, in a surprise middle-of-the-night move, increased its key interest rate to 17 percent, from 10.5 percent. Aleksei L. Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister who is widely credited with having steered Russia through the 2008 financial crisis by convincing President Vladimir V. Putin to build up sovereign reserves, said that uneven policy making was adding to the erosion of confidence. “The fall of the ruble and the stock market is not only a reaction to lower oil prices and sanctions, but also distrust in the government’s...