New Policy Memo: Lessons (Half) Learned: Comparing the 1998 and 2014 Ruble Crises

23 Jul 2015

In December 2014, Russia experienced the most significant drop in the ruble’s value since the financial crisis of August 1998—an event that proved devastating to then-president Boris Yeltsin’s government and its “oligarch” financiers. The December crisis encouraged pundits and scholars to make comparisons with 1998 and to wonder whether dire consequences might be in store for Vladimir Putin’s government as well. Yet despite certain similarities between the two crises, the Putin government has weathered the storm far better than did Yeltsin’s. This is because of three key lessons that Putin and his team learned from 1998 and successfully applied in subsequent years. An equally important lesson remains only half-learned, however, with significant future implications for the Putin regime and Russia’s economic development trajectory. 

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