Russia losing fight against dropping ruble; Putin cancels South Stream pipeline ({{commentsTotal}})

The Bank of Russia has spent $700 million on the foreign exchange markets in December trying to prop up a dropping ruble – the equivalent of 36.87 billion of the Russian currency.

It was the central bank’s first currency intervention in the exchange rate of the ruble since the currency was allowed to freely float on November 10, reported Kommersant.

However, the currency has fallen to a new low against the dollar and euro. This morning, a dollar and euro bought 54.86 rubles and 67.90 rubles, respectively.

The Russian central bank warned that its transition to a free exchange rate does not mean a complete departure from intervening in the currency market if there is a risk of financial instability. Monday there was such a need, as the dollar change rose to 53 rubles to the dollar, and the euro bought 66 rubles. Later, the rate declined sharply, which made analysts suspect that the central bank had intervened.

According to the official records, the Bank of Russia has sold 73 billion dollars in currency reserves this year, 30 billion in October.


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that the country is cancelling its planned 40-billion-euro South Stream gas pipeline, the BBC reported.

Europe’s demand for gas has been dropping, and the Russian government has judged the 63 billion cubic meters a year that South Stream would supply to Southern and Central Europe superflouous. The North Stream pipeline is only filled to a fraction of its similar capacity, and runs at a loss.

However, the BBC said that Bulgaria has recently suspended work at the Varna sea port on the Black Sea coast where the pipeline would have come ashore, making the project untenable.

The pipeline would have run to the Central European Gas Hub at Baumgarten in Austria, which is partly Russian owned. Other losers in the announcement include the governments in Hungary and Serbia, among the strongest backers of the project, and the gas companies OMV in Austria and ENI in Italy.

Easter Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting productionEaster Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting production
Estonia’s Easter Monday time loop: Discussing an additional day off

Every year, Estonia reliably asks itself the question whether or not Easter Monday should be made a public holiday. Opinions differ. While one side emphasizes the importance of family time, the other thinks an additional day off would threaten economic growth.

Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).
Samost: Kaia Iva’s charisma could help IRL out of long-term low

In Sunday’s “Samost ja Rumm” radio debate show, editor-in-chief of ERR’s online news, Anvar Samost, and journalist and former politician Hannes Rumm discussed the potential and actual candidates for the chairmanship of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL). At the time of the broadcast, Helir-Valdor Seeder had not yet made his intention to run public.