Yevgenia Albats, editor-in-chief
and CEO of The New Times in Moscow, said that the situation in Russia is
going “from bad to worse” with the
two-fold decline of the ruble in the last year because of lower oil prices, Russia’s prime export.
“How are they going to sustain the
budget? It’s not clear how the Russian state is going to pay for loyalty from
population and security forces,” Albats said. If the decline in oil prices
continues, “the Russian government will be lacking funds” and may be “too concerned about
economic situation to look outside.”
Of course, Albats said, the
alternative is that Russia could continue seeing external enemies to blame –
such as the West and Ukraine. At the same time, she said, there is even less
political pluralism domestically in Russia than there was in the Soviet Union.