Assessments

Russia Can No Longer Afford to Buy Allies

Feb 23, 2016 | 10:15 GMT
Russia Can No Longer Afford to Buy Allies
Years of wild spending have forced the Kremlin to pick and choose the countries it assists and how much the Kremlin can spend without breaking its finances.
(ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's limited financial resources continue to hurt its ability to comfortably operate as it has in the previous decade. High oil prices, and resulting energy revenues, were largely responsible for skyrocketing economic growth since Russian President Vladimir Putin's government took over in 2000. Prosperity enabled Moscow to spend liberally on its military, its economic development and, more subtly, its loans to countries in exchange for influence. However, oil prices have fallen, domestic industry has slowed and the West has placed sanctions on the country that have soured investment sentiment, together creating an economic crisis for Russia. The Kremlin must now make painful decisions to keep its economy floating, and everything is open to cuts, including foreign loans....

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