Geopolitical Journal: December 17th
- Tension and fragility in Russia grow deeper every day and on a multitude of fronts. The precipitous decline of oil brings worry about the basic foundations of the Russian economy. Capital outflows have pressured the ruble to an all time low and pushed interest rates to over 17%. The country’s reserves, though strong, are declining rapidly and companies are having trouble finding credit in the backdrop of Western sanctions targeting the energy and financial sectors. Russia also canceled a long-planned gas pipeline project into Europe (South Stream). Meanwhile Russia’s standing in Scandinavia and the Baltics is also suffering. Denmark and Sweden have summoned the Russian ambassador in each respective country to warn over multiple near collisions between Russian aircraft and Scandinavian counterparts. The aerial frights come after a rogue submarine, thought to be from Russia, disappeared in Swedish waters in October.