It seems one superpower the Russians cannot afford to ignore is the markets, which have reacted badly to the weekend’s events in eastern Ukraine and are down everywhere.
Investors fear more sanctions are on the way, with negative effects on the European economy, and several firms with exposure to the Russian market lost ground, like Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat, and Austrian, Italian, and Belgian finance houses Raiffeisen, Unicredit, and KBC.
“Sanctions are not very helpful as any sanction towards Russia will only result in a counter-reaction of the Russians.I am afraid the situation is going to worsen still and that we will have to put up with very cautious markets over the next couple of weeks,” says Fidel Helmer of Hauck Aufhaeuser.
The rouble has also fallen sharply, and Russian bonds are under pressure as investors seek guarantees in the event of default.
However the key day will be Thursday, when four-way talks between Ukraine, Russia, the EU and the USA may end, or exacerbate the crisis.