As Russia’s economy continues to decline due, in part, to their oil-dependent economy and recent oil prices falling – a defiant President Putin refuses to back-down to western pressure to change his stance on the Ukraine. Instead, Russia is hoping to prop up its economy despite the oil price crisis and economic sanctions imposed upon it by bailing out its banks.
Russia’s economic crisis continues to worsen as 2015 begins, with its bank bailout having now been expanded to include Gazprombank, the nation’s third-largest lender. On Dec. 31, OAO Gazprombank confirmed that it would receive more than $700 million in aid as the Kremlin scrambles to protect the country’s banking sector after the ruble’s free fall in 2014, which ended the year by having decreased in value more than 40%.
The West seems to be hoping that all this will lead to Vladimir Putin to back down from his position regarding Ukraine. But the Russian leader is not one who is known for backing down. In fact, he has proved in the past to behave much like the “bear” he is so fond of invoking in his speeches.
As he put it in his December 18 news conference, Putin’s Russian bear is unwilling to stand by and “eat honey” as its “fangs and claws” are removed.