I have little time for the likes of Russia Today that seek to perpetually push a meme about how the West abandoned Russia in the 1990's and then sought in more recent years to re-ignite the Cold War. It is full of bathos about the role of Russia in the world and its assumed status as a global superpower.
in 2014, we can now see the true strength of Russia, high military spending and a resource based economy that was a major player in the world. Rather like Brazil then, with a bit more money spent on the military. However, with the collapse in the oil price driven by the global slowdown and rise of Shale Oil in the US, it is amazing to see that Russia's economy has unravelled as fast as that of known basket cases like Iran and Venezuela.
After all, Russia is full of very clever, bright and tough people - it should be in a better place than it is. Clearly the war in Ukraine has drained resources and the denial of access to Western Banking (so ironic that the bane of the anti-capitalist Left wing in Europe and America now proves to be our most effective means of extended diplomacy) has left Russia very exposed.
Raising interest rates by 7% in a day is not ever going to prove an effective strategy, plus a currency fall of 50% is going to push inflation up hugely on all imported goods, in Russia, this amounts to most products given the dearth of non-oil and non-defence industries.
Putin himself is so entrenched politically that he is unlikely to suffer an adverse consequences such as a coup. Everyone is on board with his project or has already been eliminated. The opposition is very weak and the people, sadly, brainwashed by extreme nationalism and partial media coverage by the likes of Russia Today equivalents.
The thing is, the West maybe feeling clever that it has brought about this denouement (really, its Saudi Arabia to a large extent, they offered a deal to Putin which he turned down). But Russia is not Iran or even Venezuela. The Ukraine apart Russia is not a sponsor of state terror or mass murder. Russia is as concerned about Islamic Extremism as the West is. Russia is at its heart a European country.
Whilst its lack of democracy and history of democracy makes it unlike a Western European state, Russia has no long term interest in facing away from the West. Today, it is likely to re-assess its chances of making its way in the world with the support of perfidious China.
The Politicians in the West would do well to try to accommodate some Russian demands to allow a climb down in the Ukraine and a normalising of relations. A bankrupt Russia, nuclear armed and run by paranoid Oligarchs is not the best outcome for the situation from here.