All You Need To Know About Russia, In Charts

Tyler Durden's picture

With the second coming of the cold war, it is no surprise that so much of the news (if mostly propaganda) is dedicated to the rapidly escalating events in Ukraine in particular, and in Russia in general. But how much do people really know about the history and economy of the largest country in the world? Not much. Which is why we have compiled the following charts meant to provide some further insight into what this particular conflict is about and what the real motivations behind Putin's actions may be.

First, a quick reminder of what the Russian "org chart" looks like:


And, as we showed before, here is an annotated history of the former (and perhaps) future empire.


Narrowing the timeline a bit, here is the relatively near-term history of the current conflict.


But enough foreplay. When one thinks Russia, all one really has to think about is commodities because exported commodities represent 20% of Russian GDP. Additionally, commanding over 10% of the global gas and oil market, Russia is a huge marginal producer of the most important commodities on a global scale (and with over 40% of the produced palladium, one can see why its price in recent weeks has exploded).


But nowhere is Russia's commodity dominance more important than in Europe, where Russia represents nearly all oil and gas imports for a bevy of countries. Russia supplies literally all of the natural gas that Finland and the Baltics consume and 70% of what Ukraine consumes, a key point of Russian leverage in the current dispute. Dependence is not limited to smaller, immediately neighboring countries; Germany relies on Russia for around one-third of its total gas supplies. Although seasonal and other factors could lessen the impact of disruptions to these flows, there is no doubt that such potential disruptions would negatively impact European growth. Of course, it is not one way: Europe’s saving grace is likely to be that Russia’s  dependence on its oil and gas revenues – which amount to roughly 10% of GDP – make this a story of interdependence between Russia and Europe that neither side has economic incentives to disrupt.


It's not all energy commodities, though. Russia's vast territory covers so many resources that it is a key producer of virtually everything from agriculture to zinc.


What about the inverse: which countries would suffer should their exports to Russia be cut off. In top spot are Germany and Sweden, with about 0.87% of their GDP generated by exports to Moscow.


However, as the chart below of value added to final demand shows, while Europe could in theory lose Russia, its export exposure to China is far greater. It is here that Europe should be worried about a potential Chinese-Russian axis, since the leverage power of such an entity would be virtually unlimited.


Yet while total European exposure via the export and GDP channel is rather limited, Europe's exposure via the financial/bank channel is more acute. Cross-border exposures of European banks to Russia and other parts of central and eastern Europe suggests (1) these balance sheet exposures are significant; (2) the magnifying effect of the impact via central and eastern Europe is more important than the direct exposure to Russia itself; and (3) the most significant exposures are in Sweden and Italy, whose banks play an important role in neighboring CEE countries.


It is the financial channel that has seen the fastest impact, with substantial private capital outflows already having taken place, and much more expected to flow out in the coming months.


Ironically, unlike the great powers of the developed world which have been unable to grow at a BRIC-like pace, and thus were forced to borrow heavily from the future for some very modest growth today, Russia did not have that problem. As a result, Russian total external debt is tiny when viewed from the prism of an insolvent G-7 country.


And since the world is extremely reliant on Russia for its energy needs, and will pay it in the reserve currency du jour, it is also very likely that Russian oil production - already said to be the biggest in the world in terms of daily boes - will only increase, and with it so will Russia's leverage. In summary, it appears it is not the mutual assured destruction of epic debt amounts that is guiding Russia decision-making, but its explicit ability to crush world growth should it turn off the energy switch.


Finally, here is an amusing glimpse at the "experts" of the developed world, the same ones who said Putin would never dare annex Crimea - it is they who until recently said Russia was almost neck and neck with the US in terms of its "democracy"... it is they who are now shouting what an "authoritarian, despotic" state Russia has become.

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LetThemEatRand's picture

It's always been about natural resources.  America was built on oil, and when the oil started to run out, the wise guys who made trillions on the oil and gas under our land cozied up with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and offered protection for a piece of the action.  Putin is a rival mob boss, challenging the established Order.  What we don't know is whether he just aims to take a piece of the action himself and allow the current order to continue, or establish his own Rule and take out the existing cartel.  He's already worth billions, so I'm thinking he sees himself as the new Boss.  His problem is that the existing cartel has a shit-load of guns.

Ignatius's picture

Resources and markets.  Sorry, it's one of my pet peeves.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Indeed.  The wise guys were always in bed with the bankers who launder the money, and without whom there are no wise guys.

Leaping Lizard's picture


A couple of weeks ago I first read of Putin's personal $40 billion.  I thought - maybe yes, maybe no.  So I tried to trace it back to something authoritative.  All I could come up with was an ad hoc claim by an obscure Russian economic analyst published in a major German daily and without any back-up evidence.  So I say, "Show me the money,"  And if it is not true, then it just goes to the old saw of telling a big lie often enough.  And the Tylers are going along to a large extent with the MSM war hysteria demonization, talking about Russia "invading and annexing" Crimea and this push for their "empire" to expand.  Russia and Putin weren't doing shit in that department until Ukraine got zioneocon Nudelmaned with the threat of putting nuclear tipped NATO missiles a couple of miles from their border.  Spare us the bullshit.

caustixoid's picture

Remind you of this claim by western media?  'Castro worth almost a billion'

So yeah I call bullshit on the $40B number


Ayr Rand's picture

According to Credit Suisse's annual wealth report, per capita wealth in Russia is 1/2 that of China. So while Russia is obviously a very wealthy country, it is third world in terms of what the average citizen sees. It would be interesting to see where the difference resides. 

ndotken's picture

It's entirely possible that, unlike the current US President, what Putin actually wants is what is in the best interest of his country's people ... imagine that

stacking12321's picture

oh, please!

while i have a great deal more respect for putin than for obama, to suggest that putin is some sort of good guy is a stretch.

you don't get to that level of political power by doing what's right, or what benefits the people.

you get to the top by focusing solely and exclusively on the acquisition of power, and fuck everything and everyone else.

headhunt's picture

Putin is a communist.


daveO's picture

Same BS was said about Saddam and Qadhafi before, and after, they were bumped off. We're supposed to be thankful that DC illegaly killed such filthy rich dictators.

UselessEater's picture

And you can trace the TRUE wealth of the Anglo-American oligarchs? Who appears the the forbes wealth list? The real wealth or the media front wealth? Are black budgets and money laundering only occurring in the USA?

Whilst the west is engaging in propoganda- that does not mean the russians are not, nor that double-cross propoganda is being played. Why on earth would Russia and Putin allow full disclosure of their black budgets? The USA won't. The UK won't. Yet many govt leaders have greater fortunes post office than prior to office.

Putin himself is directly connected to a lineage of KGB, oligarchs, and elite power. Putin apparently is poorer than the Rockfeller ilk who had similar power and control and grip on national economic "interests".

Black budgets, hidden technology, unequal distribution of wealth, increasing wealth of the few at the expense of the rest who can't run businesses that create competition with core elite - just apparently not in Russia? How sweet.

Please atleast consider that Putin and Russia are playing underdog. If Putin has less money than this article posits he is a freak of nature. Cronyism is cronyism.

Lets take a moment to separate the BS we are normally fed and expect eg Syria and be sure we are not putting the same brush on each situation - we could be fooled!


edit- sorry typo change context :(

The Capitalist Review's picture

Exactly - emphasis on MARKETS.  Afghanistan has an incredible amount of natural resources, hence one of the myriad reasons its perpetually invaded; however, there is little TRADE.  You don't need to be sitting on a powder keg of resources, look at Japan, when you have free trade.  

Back to the article, the analysis is pretty good but that last chart is total BS.  That fact that during Lincoln's reign of terror the US only dropped 2 points is a joke.  Despite what Dorris Kearns-Goodwin thinks, there was no "team of rivals" but a full blown autocrat who took a mostly Jeffersonian country and destoryed it making it the only country in the 19th century to NOT peacefully end slavery. But, as Bourne reminded us, war is the "health of the state".  

daveO's picture

Thank you! The only president to suspend Habeas Corpus, and DC erects monuments to him. He also funded the bloodshed with fiat Greenbacks. Inflation went sky high.  

KickIce's picture

I think before the CIA trampled in his backyard Putin was fairly content with the status quo.  OTOH, I think the Chinese will have to resort to something more drastic and I don't think they're buying gold for their health.  I mean except for the guy in India, we all know you can't eat the yellow stuff.

Omen IV's picture

Flyover UKraine with Jets or Hcopters and 1,000 Man Pods or missiles deployed to the freedom fighters and the air cover is marginal value - on the ground the Russians know the steps of Russia better than anyone in the world including Napoleon and Hitler - so what are military assets worth to  Obama?

 the currency changes for china and russia and the Brics - SA already with Prince Bandar out shift in motion  - they dont want Putin destablizing their Empire as Bandar did in Chechin Republic - so the US is checkmated in this whole sordid affair -

Obama is a disaster!

daveO's picture

BHO's banking and oil company puppeteers want war. He's just going along. I guess he's smart enough to know what happens to him if he doesn't go along.

kchrisc's picture

It is actually built on Freedom--Liberty.

Resource poor Hong Kong is a testament to that.

Where government is minimal, as in 19th century America and 20th. century Hong Kong, commerce and the people thrive.

An imposing criminal government backstopped by bankster thieves since 1913 has produce the current condition of the American country.

Stop paying and obeying these criminals.


"My guillotine may not arrive when you expect it, but it's never late."

raybies's picture

You're right about it being all about natural resources, but I think your view of history is somewhat American.

The USA subverted Saudi Arabia and killed it's only good king (, and protects the current despotic bunch of inbreds in exchange of them sending back most their oil money in the form T-Bonds and overpriced military hw.

Putin is a nationalist and fears the same subversion the USA has been so successfully exporting, and what he's doing is standing up when the US comes knocking on his door. Putin has very few cards to play and he better start cozzing up to India and China, and then building some pipelines and railways.

China and Russia need time, the US hasn't got time.

supersajin's picture

American was built on FREE LABOR!!!

TaperProof's picture

Stop quoting anything GS says, its usually BS.   GS = BS

Unless you are quoting them to laugh at their fraud.

CrashisOptimistic's picture


Have a look at the next to last chart.  That's PROJECTED.

GS sees them at 12 million bpd in 6 years.  Uh, sorry.  No.

Putin himself as recently as a year ago said they will need $25 billion in investment just to hold at 10.5 mbpd.

In the world of oil, "investment" means frantic drilling to add wells so the sum output offsets the declining output from already existing wells.

They are presently drilling 6000 wells/year (contrast with Bakken that drills about 2200) just to stay even.


swmnguy's picture

What in the hell is that last chart?  What could the basis for that chart possibly be?  That's just silly.  Since the US is "10," Full Democracy, and has been every minute since 1870, I can't imagine what it's measuring.

knukles's picture

Take a gander at the website that chart was pulled from.  Nepotism run amok amongst the critically impaired left wing gobbldiegookers

NoDebt's picture

You beat me to it, Knuk.

NoDebt's picture

Polity IV- part of the Center for Systemic Peace.  Vienna, VA.  

Guess what they are?  Yep, a DC think-tank.

Leaping Lizard's picture

Let me guess.  Funded by George, pay me the money please SS to send my fellow Jews to the death camps, Soros.

HughK's picture

Leaping lizard, have you been drinking Glen Beck's kool-aid again?  I thought we warned you about that already.  Soros was born in August of 1930.  That would make him between 12-14 during the isolation and eventual deportation of Hungarian Jews to the death camps.  

Also, do you even know exactly what Soros did or did not do at that time, or do you just read headlines and then spout them off.

Also, the ratio of people who clicked the green arrow on this one vs. the red arrow does suggests that many Zerohedge commenters are just as credulous as the mainstream media sheeple.

DanDaley's picture

Soros interview from 60 Minutes:

More like a vulture than a collaborator, per se...


KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That's right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that's -- that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not -- not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don't -- you don't see the connection. But it was -- it created no -- no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, 'I'm Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.' None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c -- I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was -- well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets -- that if I weren't there -- of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would -- would -- would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the -- whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the -- I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

kchrisc's picture

Rare candid remarks of a sociopath.


"It is not that all Jews are greedy and manipulative thieves, but that the damage from the ones that are outweighs the benefits of the ones that are not."

HughK's picture

He was aged 13-14.  What would you or I as a boy have done in his situation?  Do you expect him to profess guilt for being in the middle of the Holocaust as a 14 year old?  So, it wasn't politically correct for him to say that he didn't blame himself for being a boy and surviving those times, is that it?  Why does he deserve any blame for being in that situation at that age?

nihilist's picture

Oh please, now you're just an apologist for a pathological sociopath.  I've done things when I was 10 that I feel guilty about for much less infractions than Emeperor Palpatine.  It's called having a conscience.


This is fight club, there's no such thing as political correctness here.

Notsobadwlad's picture

Except for the last chart with Barry "executive order is my middle name" Obummer ... it puts together an interesting and understandable picture.

As for the US at +10? To be at +10, I would think that we:
1. Would need to eliminate ALL exective orders
2. Get Rid of the NDAA and FISA Court
3. Eliminate market control and politician bribery by the big banks and publicly (bank) funded corporations.
4. Eliminate monopoly control the the US money supply
5. Return to the constitution and equal protection under the law.
6. Eliminate banker control of the media
7. Elimate election fraud that put people who had the fewest vote (Bush Jr., Harry Reid etc.) in office. An electoral college and sons who run the vote count for their father's elections are both anti-democratic.
8. Eliminate unelected (presidentially appointed) Czars and other positions of importance.
9. Eliminate the president's direct control over the EPA, FEMA, BLM and other paramilitary organizations.

I would rate the US a 3 or 4 on that last chart.

garypaul's picture

yes Notsobadwlad, that last chart is questionable.

4 Freedoms's picture

Yeah, I think when the US suspended Habeas Corpus, that score went seriously negative.

Victor999's picture

Indeed!  Anyone who thnks that the US is a democratic country really needs to read this recent study:

Study indicating US is an oligarchy

The US is not a democracy.  It would be good for people to accept that and then do something about it, rather than relaxing in the na-na-land of the American Dream.

Fast Twitch's picture

Anybody else watching the gold & silver rollercoaster? Someone wants golds' head bashed in, tonight...

Rock On Roger's picture

Then maybe I'll stack Monday morning.

And drop the price moar...


Stack On

nathan1234's picture

If Europeans ( i don't mean European Governments who have sold their souls ) don't understand that they are being used and misused by the US Cabal, it means they are plain stupid.

They should stop listening/hearing their mainstream medias and look around for answers to the mess they are in


GoldIsMoney's picture

We do not need to get abused by the US. That's entirely in the hands of our EU. The US can't abuse us that much, it's all our own politicians wrong doing. 


"They should stop listening/hearing their mainstream medias and look around for answers to the mess they are in"

is one of the best advices given ever. Yeah we should better start to send our governments where they belong - and that is not heaven.

Youri Carma's picture

The problem with the Americans is that they still view the world trough Transatlantic Pact spectacles while the rest of the world moves on.

Russia, China, India and Iran made trade deals which skips the U.S. out of the equation.

- Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares To Announce “Holy Grail” Gas Deal With China
- Russia Prepares Mega-Deal With India After Locking Up China With “Holy Grail” Gas Deal
- It’s On: Gazprom Prepares “Symbolic” Bond Issue In Chinese Yuan
- W(h)ither Petrodollar: Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal

HEADLINES FROM: Russia-Ukraine Crisis Threatens Europe & US Economy

Winston of Oceania's picture

If Russia wishes to trade with a few bric states then that is their business, but I doubt China has the same aspirations of a SMALL chocked out market.

TungstenBars's picture

That last chart is crock of BS. US is a full democracy? LOL..

Maybe a 0

stacking12321's picture

sadly, it kinda is.

people unfortunately seem to hold the word "democracy" in some sort of high regard, as if it's the pinnacle of government and civilization.

democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

democracy is the candidate winning, who is best able to buy media time, pander to the lowest common denominator, and promise to the unwashed masses to distribute to them the wealth from the public coffers.

democracy is not something to strive for, but should be properly viewed in its historical context, as a stepping stone.

it is my belief and hope that humanity will one day outgrow the infantile need for government, and evolve towards anarchy.


UselessEater's picture

Yeah, count the number of nations called Democratic Republics... its good for a crying laugh - the UN & Central Banker cohorts smile; there are so many ways for vested interests who are the real 'majority' to override national interests, laws and rights via democracy and internationally 'democratic' laws and treaties.

The USA and Australia have worked hard to sacrifice our national constitutions over several decades for "democratic rights"; we can soon joyfully join the 3rd world democratic republics. Then the planet will be healed, the global happiness index will replace petty national and personal economic interests and measures, we'll be happy working for big brother and a banana. Grrrl.

damicol's picture

Think about it.. Who needs democracy. Not me,, I couldn't give a flying fuck if you have democracy or not and wouldn't lift a finger  for it either.

My only interest is that no one, including you  the government or whatever you might call a democracy tells me what to do or what I can or cannot do.

My democracy is me and my rules and what I want, and I could not care less whether you are a slave or a victim, free as bird  or rotting in hell. The ones who need democracy are the self same self serving politicians who use it as a pretense  and a shabby flimsy pretense at best of what you think you have got by way of a democracy.

There is no democracy when kenyan fucking monkeys can kill you and cunts like reid and pelosi are still walking   around with a short neck, less than a ft long.

Evade bureaucracy in any way possible. No matter what it takes, then you have a chance to survive.

messystateofaffairs's picture

I understand the sentiment but look at it this way. I prefer authentic immutable freedom principles to democracy. I prefer majority democracy to war; even the daftest bunch of idiots will come to their senses, somewhat, if they feel enough pain and have access to real choice mechanisms to solve differences without war. In the meantime I occupy myself with learning immutable freedom principles and applying them to my own life fully aware that there is global hostility to freedom. "law" is that privately held personal truth kept within that is based on real justice arising from truth. Everything else is just specious shit some wannabe writes in a book and uses your labor to buy henchmen to force upon you. It has power but can never have the moral high ground of truth. Anything you do to circumvent specious power is valid, just make sure you are right and try to keep your actions as non violent as possible. Violence is not out of the question though, as reasoned by the framers with the 2nd amendment. In the final analysis, freedom is non negotiable for those who demand to be free.