Putin requests a bailout

Wonderful news, on the road to driving Russia to default:

Vladimir Putin Wants Your Money – Forbes.com
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin came to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it seems, to convince Western creditors to write off a portion of the debts Russian companies owe them. As of October 2008, the cumulative debt totaled $540 billion. The State of Russia owes $42.7 billion, while the private sector carries the rest of the burden. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the State of Russia paid foreign creditors a total of $80 billion, including $61 billion owed by the private sector.

We know that the Kremlin recently drew up a list of strategic enterprises belonging to Russian companies that owe money to Western banks. Stakes in these enterprises either cannot be sold to Western investors or are tightly controlled by Moscow for the lucky few allowed in. The Kremlin based its rescue plan for the Russian economy on this list, which consists primarily of monsters like Gazprom, Rusal, Rosneft and others.

But even if official Russian statistics on the state of the country’s gold and hard currency reserves are accurate–and they came to $386.9 billion as of Feb. 1–if prices for commodities and energy exports remain unchanged and capital flight stays at current levels, by December 2009 this figure could shrink to $150 billion. And don’t forget that over the last six months, Russia’s reserves fell by $210 billion.

After the default of Ecuador and now Venezuela’s late payments, this is very good news.

Let’s just hope that Obama does not add Putin to the stimulus!

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