A fair number of “experts” in 2014 predicted Russia would be bankrupted by western financial sanctions. Indeed for a while its reserve funds were bleeding money, but then Kremlin did something the US is totally incapable of: it tightened the belt and cut spending. It brought expenses below revenue even as the latter took an enormous hit due to the simultaneous collapse in oil prices.
Actually you have to be a little in awe of Russia’s Financial Ministry. Even as the New Cold War is raging it has managed to roll back Russia’s influential Ministry of Defense to just $50 billion per annum — which is chump change for Pentagon.
Moreover Russia has every intention of bringing the reserves all the way back to $500bn and western experts concur it will succeed maybe before the year is over:
In June 2017, the head of the CBR Elvira Nabiullina told the State Duma that the regulator is ready to increase the FX/gold reserves to $500bn, given favourable conditions such as stable inflation and since then has reiterated the target.
Most recently Moody’s Investors Service forecasted that in 2018 the CBR will be able to boost the reserves by $40bn, as the economy is expected to grow by 1.6% (below official target of 2% for 2018) and inflation to accelerate back to the central bank’s target of 4%.
Faced with a crisis Russia did what needed to be done. Will the US? I think we know the answer.