Vladimir Putin

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India Gold Demand Surges 450% and Bank of Russia Demand At 15 Year High





The seemingly insatiable appetite of the growing Indian middle class for gold is causing the government in India to again consider imposing sanctions on the importing of gold. 

 
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Snow-Plough Driver In Total CEO Plane Crash Was Drunk, Investigators Say





The awful news overnight of Total CEO Christophe de Margarie's death in a freak plane crash caused by the jet hitting a snow-plough on the runway has taken a darker twist. As RT reports, Russian prosecutors claim the driver of the snowplough was drunk, and the air traffic controller for the jet was an intern. However, his lawyer, however, says he was completely sober, due to a heart condition preventing him from drinking claiming "he was so sober at the time of the crash," adding "we don't want the blame for the accident falling on an ordinary man." Investigators added that "bad weather conditions and the possibility of a mistake by the pilot will also be considered." ITAR-TASS reports that Putin has sent his condolences and reached out to Francois Hollande, "Vladimir Putin has long known de Margerie and had a close working relationship with him."

 
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Strange Liaisons? Putin Visits Berlusconi's Home At 3am After Warning Merkel Of Gas Squeeze





It appears Bunga-Bunga boy still has something to offer the international elite. After a lengthy meeting with Germany's Angela Merkel (at a hotel in Milan) where Putin warned of "big transit risks" in delivery of Europe's gas as Ukraine is "starting to siphon off our gas from the export pipeline," and threatening to respond by "reducing flows by the amount stolen;" Putin decided the place to be was 78-year-old Berlusconi's house at 3am. Finally, it is worth noting that Ukraine's President Poroshenko was scheduled to meet with Frau Merkel this morning - we assume to plead his case for why gas transit should flow through his nation (and beg for some more support).

 
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Frontrunning: October 17





  • Obama open to appointing Ebola 'czar', opposes travel ban (Reuters)
  • Schools Close as Nurse’s Ebola Infection Ignites Concern (BBG)
  • How the World's Top Health Body Allowed Ebola to Spiral Out of Control (BBG)
  • European Stocks Rise Amid Growing Pressure for Stimulus (BBG)
  • Putin Threatens EU Gas Squeeze Raising Stakes for Ukraine (BBG)
  • ECB to Start Asset Purchases Within Days, Says Central Banker Coeuré (WSJ)
  • Investors search for signs of end to stock market correction (Reuters)
 
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Mapping The Battle Of The Bulge: Russia's War Against McDonalds





Since Russia's first began rattling its retaliatory anti-Western-fast-food sabre at McDonalds in April, things have escalated. It started in Crimea, spread to Moscow, and now as Yopolis notes, has spread across much of Russia as more and more McDonalds stores are shuttered by Russia's Food Safety Commission (Rospotrebnadzorom)...

 
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Putin Warns Of "Nuclear Power Consequences" If Attempts To Blackmail Russia Don't Stop





"We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability." - Putin

 
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China, Russia Sign CNY150 Billion Local-Currency Swap As Plunging Oil Prices Sting Putin





While Russia's economy is hurting, desperate to overthrow the tentacles of the Petrodollar, and is urgently pivoting toward Beijing, the cherry on top came moments ago when, as if to assure all involved parties that there will be enough capital support on both sides, the PBOC released a surprising announcement that the central banks of China and Russia signed a 3-year, 150 billion yuan bilateral local-currency swap deal today, according to a statement posted on PBOC website. Deal can be expanded if both parties agree, statement says. Deal aims to make bilateral trade and direct investment more    convenient and promote economic development in 2 nations.

 
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Why Oil Is Plunging: The Other Part Of The "Secret Deal" Between The US And Saudi Arabia





Two weeks ago, we revealed one part of the "Secret Deal" between the US and Saudi Arabia: namely what the US 'brought to the table' as part of its grand alliance strategy in the middle east. What was not clear is what was the other part: what did the Saudis bring to the table, or said otherwise, how exactly it was that Saudi Arabia would compensate the US for bombing the Assad infrastructure until the hated Syrian leader was toppled, creating a power vacuum in his wake that would allow Syria, Qatar, Jordan and/or Turkey to divide the spoils of war as they saw fit. The full answer comes courtesy of Anadolu Agency, which explains not only the big picture involving Saudi Arabia and its biggest asset, oil, but also the latest fracturing of OPEC at the behest of Saudi Arabia which however is merely using "the oil weapon" to target the old slash new Cold War foe #1: Vladimir Putin.

 
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The Oil Weapon: A New Way To Wage War





It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops.  It is, of course, that very same oil weapon.

 
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Russia Central Banks Scrambles To Halt Plunging Ruble, Spends Over $2 Billion In Last Three Days As Inflation Soars





After stoically ignoring the impact of its tumbling currency on the domestic economy (and as a reminder, Japan would kill for a currency collapse of this magnitude: just think of the "economic renaissance" that would result if only Abenomics was right about killing your currency leading to growth... which it isn't), the Kremlin is finally starting to feel the pinch leading to the biggest central bank intervention in FX markets since the start of the Ukraine campaign, buying Rubles for a third consecutive day at an amount of over $2 billion, with $1.75 billion purchased in the first two days of the current intervention attempt, and another $420 million in foreign currencies sold overnight according to Bank of Russia data.

 
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How Vladimir Putin Will Spend His 62nd Birthday





Whereas two months ago Obama spent his 53rd birthday in the usual style, by playing a casual round of golf with his Hawaiian childhood buddies at Andrews AFB before escpaing to Camp David, tomorrow that other Cold War 2.0 nation leader, Vladimir Putin, will be celebrating his own birthday, the 62nd, in a way that is about as diametrically opposite as can be. As reported by RIA, the former KGB spy will spend the day in the Siberian taiga, a vast forested area in the northern regions of Russia covering hundreds of thousands of square miles, according to Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday.

 
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Why The Chinese Admire "Putin The Great"





Despite constant cries of "isolation" from The West, China's popular support for Russia has risen since Moscow's confrontation with the West over Ukraine - rising to 66% in July from 47% a year earlier. That is borne out dramatically, as WSJ reports, books on Mr. Putin have been flying off shelves across China since the crisis in Ukraine began, far outselling those on other world leaders; leaving book-shop staff members with no doubt which foreign leader customers are most interested in: President Vladimir Putin, or "Putin the Great" as some Chinese call him.

 
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Putin Rules Out Capital Controls As Ruble Hits Record Lows, "Curbs Risk" By Shifting To Non-Dollar Settlements





Despite ongoing outflows, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed earlier statements by the Central Bank ruling out any measures to stop the flow of money from his nation (following rumors that they were weighing capital controls sent the Ruble to fresh record lows against the USD). The central bank continues to make "small interventions" but the Ruble has pushed to new record lows this morning nevertheless, as Bloomberg reports, restating "the first principle is the lack of limits on capital movements." In order to "curb risks" from ongoing outflows, Putin said on Thursday that Russia wants to shift to national currencies in trade deals with China and other countries, implying a shift away from the U.S. dollar. That appears to be strengthened further this morning as Putin signs law ratifying a Eurasian economic union.

 
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US Stocks Slide, Ruble Plunges As Russia Prepares Capital Controls





Just days after Ukraine began discussing capital controls, and Russian lawmakers passed a bill enabling asset freezes, it appears Russia has reached its limit.

*RUSSIA SAID TO WEIGH CAPITAL CONTROLS IF NET OUTFLOWS INTENSIFY

The Ruble is plunging towards 40 to the USD (CB intervention levels), US equity futures gapped lower, and European stocks are sliding.

 
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Russia Discovers Massive Arctic Oil Field Which May Be Larger Than Gulf Of Mexico





In a dramatic stroke of luck for the Kremlin, this morning there is hardly a person in the world who is happier than Russian president Vladimir Putin because overnight state-run run OAO Rosneft announced it has discovered what may be a treasure trove of black oil, one which could boost Russia's coffers by hundreds of billions if not more, when a vast pool of crude was discovered in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas, arguably bigger than the Gulf Of Mexico. The announcement was made by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive officer, who spent two days sailing on a Russian research ship to the drilling rig where the find was unveiled today.

 
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