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For Putin, economic and political reality dampen any appetite for arms race

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By Andrew Osborn

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Its budget surplus this year is projected to be 1.932 trillion rubles ($29.3 billion) or 1.8 percent of gross domestic product. Russia's foreign exchange reserves stand at $478 billion,

A budget surplus and a half trillion in reserves... WOW

So when are those sanctions going to bite?

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This is why Russia is not the threat on the world stage that China or North Korea are. Whatever Cold War-type projections some might like to make about Putin and the current regime, they are constrained by their own economic circumstances from trying to spread their influence too far and the leadership is far more guided by realpolitik than it is by ideology. According to the article linked below, this money is far more likely to be put into much-needed infrastructure projects than it is into making Russia a major player outside its own region, or in trying to match the US in a pointless arms race. And unlike Stalin or the post-war Communist leaders, Putin does have to worry about Russian domestic reactions to his policies.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/flush-with-savings-russia-embarks-on-big-projects-20190206-p50w1e.html

Of course, if you're a neighbour of Russia, you always have to keep one eye open for what the big Bear might do.

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Whatever the cause, lets be glad there’s one less military competition..especially on the atomic and space scale.

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Russia's ruble value lost more than 20% in 2018. The trend is even sadder because the total volume of losses since 2014 has been more than 100%, resulting in knocking 6% off Russia's GDP since 2014. Russia's GDP is now 10% smaller than might have been expected at the end of 2013

"What Caused the Russian Ruble Crisis? Russia's Ruble Crisis and Its Implications"

https://www.thebalance.com/what-caused-the-russian-ruble-crisis-1978828

"We are not willing to argue that all the negative effects [of possible new sanctions], which we may face, will affect us in a painless manner, and that it will not have any impact on the Russian economy," the director of the Bank of Russia's Research and Forecasting Department, Alexander Morozov, said in a statement. "This is certainly not the case. But the effect cannot be overestimated since in most of the scenarios it will be much less than the one we observed in 2014-2015."

President Vladimir Putin has openly admitted that these economic sanctions are severely harming the economy. Over the long term, there are signs that these sanctions may be discouraging families from having more children, which could have devastating long-term effects.

Such that Putin just signed a law in Dec 18th banning boards showing currency exchange rates in public places - outlawing the signs that have been a familiar feature on Russian city streets since the 90's

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the total volume of losses since 2014 has been more than 100%,

I don't see how this number is possible.

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the total volume of losses since 2014 has been more than 100%,

I don't see how this number is possible.

It just means more than double

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