The politics of falling oil prices
Archived Articles 03 Dec 2008  EWR
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Fueled by petrodollars, Russia still has a major cushion in its $450 billion in foreign-currency reserves. But those are down by 25 percent from August.

By Brian Whitmore
(RFE/RL) – The ghosts of 1986 are haunting the Kremlin.

That was the year when a precipitous drop in oil prices, from around $30 per barrel in late 1985 to just over $10 by mid-1986, crippled the Soviet economy and helped expedite the breakup of the USSR just five years later.

With crude prices again falling by two-thirds -- from just under $150 per barrel in July to slightly more than $50 today -- the Russian political elite is getting visibly jittery.

This article is in full on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website,
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