Trying to Make Sense of Ukraine, Russia and the World Response

by Rachel Baker on March 3, 2014

Below is a round-up of several articles that may help to understand what is going on between Russia and the Ukraine, and how the rest of the world is reacting to the agressions.

The markets are punishing Russia more swiftly than diplomats ever could

But the markets are punishing Russia much more swiftly than the diplomats. A wide range of Russian assets—stocks, bonds, and the ruble—plunged in value today. To shore up the ruble, which is plumbing record depths, Russia’s central bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates today. It ratcheted up the benchmark one-week rate from 5.5% to 7%, and traders report that the central bank has also been spending billions of dollars in currency markets to stem the fall in the value of the ruble.

http://qz.com/183182/the-markets-are-punishing-russia-more-swiftly-than-diplomats-ever-could/

Russia’s Seizure of Crimea Is Making Former Soviet States Nervous

Fifteen independent countries, including Russia, emerged from the Soviet Union’s disintegration. Six of them—Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are in Europe, and all of them have a complicated relationship with modern Russia. Seven other countries once belonged to the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union’s military alliance in Eastern Europe. With the Cold War’s end, none of them had faced the threat of military intervention by the communist superpower’s successor state—until now. (In discussing Europe here, I’m not including Eurasian countries like Georgia, which fought a war with Russia in 2008, or the military support Russia offered Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region in the early 1990s.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/russias-seizure-of-crimea-is-making-former-soviet-states-nervous/284156/

A Cold War reprise as US seeks Moscow’s isolation

The U.S. and its allies are weighing sanctions on Moscow and whether to bolster defenses in Europe in response to Russia’s military advances on Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry, soon on his way to Ukraine’s capital, said world leaders “are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion.”

In a sudden reprise of Cold War sensibilities, missile defense systems and troop levels in Europe have again become urgent questions in Washington and beyond, a renewed reality that may force President Barack Obama’s administration to give up its intended foreign policy shift to Asia indefinitely.

Also echoing the era of East-West confrontation, there appears to be little if any taste in the West for a direct military response to Russia’s provocation.

http://news.yahoo.com/cold-war-reprise-us-seeks-moscows-isolation-082648310–politics.html

Ukraine crisis: Why it matters to the world economy

While the world watches the escalating crisis in Ukraine, investors and world leaders are considering how the instability could roil the global economy.

The political turmoil is rooted in the country’s strategic economic position. It is an important conduit between Russia and major European markets, as well as a significant exporter of grain.

But in the post-Soviet era, it’s a weakened economy. Now, the government is in need of an economic rescue — and torn between whether Russia or the Western economies (including the European Union) is the savior it needs.

Here are five reasons the world’s largest economies are watching what happens in Ukraine.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/02/news/economy/ukraine-economy/index.html

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