The ruble is sinking almost as fast as bitcoin


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When they reach Beanie-Baby levels of devaluation, I’ll worry.


It’s also a double whammy of Russian politics and oil. Russian economy will recover just not as soon as expected.


Any armchair political pundits want to opine on whether this will play out more like a work by Victor Hugo or one by Tom Clancy?


It may be bad news for the Russians, but it’s good news for us numismatists who specialize in foreign currency. Or at least it does until the ruble becomes too worthless to even be worth minting anymore, like the Canadian penny.


Sounds like some old-fashioned economic retribution from the US corporate revenge machine.


This is the making of one person, PutinHitler. If you need a slide ruler to figure this mess out, you’re over thinking it.


With bitcoin, you’re looking at some insane spikes at the end of last year, but at $350.00 or so, I wouldn’t say it’s “sinking” so much as, um, “volatile”.

The ruble, on the other hand, looks like it just took a flying leap off a plateau.


During the Reagan era the Star Wars initiative was used to bring down the U.S.S.R.'s economy. That led to perestroika and a fracturing of the Soviet Block. (Not to mention starvation and a lack of civil services in Russia.) After some time of portraying to the world they had changed Russia put Putin on the “throne”, and he reestablished some of the hard-line attitudes of the past.

Now we’re back here again, and I don’t think China could be happier. If Russia declines to the point of needing outside assistance to be rebuilt I’m sure China will be glad to help.

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Sort of the inverse of the ABCD line…


Embargos. Cure worse than the illness.
When will they ever learn!


This one couple I’m good friends with are pretty interesting to talk to about this sort of stuff. He’s American, and she’s Georgian but was raised in Moscow. They’ve spent a bit of time over there the last 5 years or so, and both pay careful attention to news out of Russia (her family is still there, and being both Georgian and Jewish are not exactly part of the Russian in crowd). So they both think (as is, I think, pretty obvious) that Putin’s government (and Putin himself) only really maintain power because of their ability to enrich certain powerful interest groups (oil industry, organised crime, government groups etc). He’s effectively propped up because he’s made his supporters/cronies very rich, and supporting him is the only pathway for other influential groups/individuals to acquire or maintain wealth. So they both think his control and influence will evaporate the minute the Russian economy gets bad enough to prevent that from being the case.

They differ about what happens next. He (the American) thinks that the Russian people will “Mussolini that guy” because Putin is so hated and feared by the average Russian citizens he’s met. After which more progressive elements in Russia will be able to push for progress, even if the transition is ugly or messy. She (Georgian/Russian) doesn’t seem to expect much ability to change on the part of Russians ever. She thinks Putin will probably fade away, or be quietly knocked off/removed from power. But without Putin to hold it together the country will collapse entirely. At best a much weaker, less stable, and potentially more dangerous administration would take over and everything will be just as fucked but in a much more obvious way. With those corrupt interest groups previously propped up by Putin, taking a more direct roll and propping up the new weak government,

Its interesting that his expectations match pretty well with American/Hollywood triumph of the good guys tropes. While hers basically read like the sort of depressing Russian literature I enjoyed very much in the past.


I put my money on a Terry Pratchett one!


Love the headline.

Pretty sure she’s right. Not in the Russian literature kind of way, but more consistent with the actual history from the past hundred years.


I am leaning towards her version because Russia is so cursed with natural resources. There is no place so godforsaken that a few robber barons can’t make a killing in the primary sector. As long as just enough money trickles down to keep the lights on, little will change.


There is a Russian joke from the 90’s : “Everything Marx taught us about communism was wrong, but everything he warned us about capitalism was right!”


That reference made a “WOOOOSH!” like a cruise missile going over my head. What’s your thought on the subject in terms an old fart could understand?

Before the West enjoys too much schadenfreude at Putin’s expense, history kind of tells us that hyperinflation combined with militarism isn’t a great outcome for the world. And he’s kind of already taken back his equivalent of the Sudetenland…


I tend to think she’s closer to the truth, if only because she’s from there and I’ve read quite a bit about Russian history. Russia is fucked, and will likely always be fucked.

But ultimately I don’t think either of them are totally correct and they probably both have a least something likely aspects to their expectations. In particular if the current government in Moscow does collapse that completely I doubt what we think of as the current Russian state will stick around as one centralized whole. There are a bunch of parts of Russia, and all those semi-autonomous regions, that might not particularly want to stay part of Russia. So you might just see some of that happy shiny progress in areas that break off, or in surrounding nations that reclaim the bits Russia’s cribbed over the past few decades. But I also think Putin isn’t necessarily as strong a factor in “holding it all together” as either of them think. His cronies are pretty embedded, and he rose out of an existing KGB/Organised Crime/Autocratic political trend that’s not just going to evaporate after the locals drag him behind a truck. I also don’t think their certainty that this will be happening soon is all that well based in reality. So to sum up I think its going to be much messier, take much longer, and be equal parts depressing and hopeful.

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Well, they already did mention Bitcoin…