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Putin manages to stabilize ruble, but Russian economy still staggers

Putin manages to stabilize ruble, but Russian economy still staggers

Russia's ruble has been on a roller-coaster ride, posting the second-biggest drop in value of world currencies in 2014, then bouncing back this year with the highest rise against the dollar, euro, pound and yen. The ruble's dizzying comeback, though, is due neither to an economic boom nor to sustainable intervention by the Russian Central Bank. And it came at a steep price. Steadying the ruble at about 50 to the dollar has drained the country's hard-currency trove of $150 billion, more than a quarter of the reserves on hand at the end of 2013. Those cash infusions have done little to cheer Russian consumers or businesses: Inflation remains at more than 16% and the European...

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