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Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Stocks Higher Than They Were Before Crimea Invasion
6 years
Are Western Governments Still Focused On Yesterday's Conflict?

While not quite at the levels that they were before the Yanukovych government started to founder in February, Russian stocks are now higher than they were before Russia invaded Crimea.

Today was the first day all week that the MICEX index lost value (it was down .34% today), but Russia's stock market which was staring disaster in the face not long ago is only down 2.15% for the year. As Russia's economy was, according to many experts, already destined to slide even before this crisis began, this is good news for Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Russian stocks were down today on news that the Russian government may raise the capitalization for the state-owned energy giant Gazprom. Business Week reports:

The Micex Index dropped 0.1 percent to 1,474.30 by 5:35 p.m. in Moscow after closing at the highest level since Feb. 25 yesterday. Gazprom retreated 0.5 percent and VTB Group lost 3.8 percent, the stock’s first decline in four days.

Gazprom’s eastern Siberian gas pipeline to China may be financed by additional capitalization or with an advance gas payment from China, Putin said yesterday at an energy meeting in Astrakhan, Russia. Stocks have rebounded to levels last seen before Putin’s incursion into Crimea in March as prospects of tougher U.S. and European Union sanctions fade.

“Gazprom shares will remain under big pressure since the government is planning additional capitalization, which may dilute existing shareholders’ stakes,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, who helps oversee about $4.1 billion at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by e-mail. “It’s a strange proposal since Gazprom has the capacity to build the pipeline to China without extra capitalization. ”

Despite this minor setback the trend remains clear. Many Russia observers are looking at today's battles on Ukraine's border as the clearest and most concerning sign that Russian interference is destabilizing Ukraine, at least since the Crimean annexation. And yet Russia's markets don't seem to have noticed these incidents, the Western media is largely devoid of reports of the fighting on the border, and it's not clear that world leaders are willing to pass additional sanctions against Russia over the flow of Russian militants into eastern Ukraine.

There is now a total disconnect between the deepening crisis in eastern Ukraine and the price Russia is paying for helping to deepen that crisis.