5 months ago • 2 mins
What’s going on here?
Russia just about defused a bombshell attempted coup over the weekend.
What does this mean?
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was met with an immediate outpouring of global criticism – and over the ensuing 17 months, voices of dissent within the country have joined that chorus too. Fed up with a dragged-out war that was once pegged to last only a few days, feelings among even previous supporters have soured – with some favoring a more aggressive approach and others pushing for a swift settlement. Those undercurrents led to a near-explosion in recent days, when the Wagner mercenary group staged an armed uprising that shook the Kremlin’s “stable” facade. And while Putin ultimately managed to keep Moscow out of the crossfire with a last-minute deal, it’s clear that the country’s political might isn’t as rock solid as it once seemed.
Why should I care?
For markets: Oily maneuverings.
Russia might be in the Western world’s bad books, but it’s still a key player in the global supply chain of natural resources. So, when Mother Russia sneezes, the world could catch a cold – or at least, see a shake-up in oil prices – especially with the risk that further turmoil could stop millions of barrels being exported. The US, for one, has taken that threat seriously, drafting plans to keep supply chains moving in case things do get messy. And while last weekend’s crisis was averted, political unrest still has markets on high alert, with oil prices rising on Monday.
The bigger picture: From worse to worse.
Putin having a pow-wow with a formerly loyal mercenary group is a pretty clear sign of fragility – and his hasty calls to international friends, assuring them all’s fine and dandy, don’t exactly scream stability either. And while an optimist might think that pressure could help bring this war to a close, the opposite might be true instead: this kerfuffle could make Russia increasingly unpredictable on the global stage.
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