Vladimir Putin's approval rating has jumped 10 points during the Ukraine crisis, to 72%, according to the state polling group. But that could change when Russians see what their adventure there is really costing them, Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council writes in the Wall Street Journal. Here are the ways Russia is hurting:
- Almost $51 billion flowed out of the country in the first quarter of 2014, according to new statistics from the Central Bank of Russia.
- Russia's economic development industry expects the economy to grow less than 1% this year—down from an earlier estimate of 2.5%. The World Bank predicts the economy shrinking almost 2%; that would amount to about $30 billion in lost production.
- Gazprom might regret jacking up gas prices for Ukraine, because that may permanently cost it a major customer. The Ukrainian government has already issued a temporary stop on purchases.
- Russia will pump $7 billion into economic aid for Crimea, which is a lot even if you consider the resources it's gained by annexing the peninsula.
- One financial analyst is predicting a total capital flight of $160 billion this year.
- And none of that is counting the blows to Russia's international standing—including its ouster from the G8.
"The longer the crisis over Ukraine lasts, the higher the economic costs to Russia are likely to be," Berman concludes. "Sometime in the not too distant future, it might become considerably more difficult for the Kremlin to continue to ignore the real-world price that is associated with its policies." Click for Berman's full column.