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Leonid Bershidsky

Russia's Economy Steps Back from the Brink

The country has taken a big hit, but new data offer some hopeful signs.
How much is that doggy in the window?

How much is that doggy in the window?

Photographer: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

It's been fascinating to watch the Russian economy adjust to sharply lower oil prices. With a little help from the central bank, the country's recession might not be as bad as previously thought.

After an initial period in which the ruble plummeted and inflation surged -- with food prices up 15.4 percent from a year earlier in December -- the Russian central bank's response is turning things around. A sharp increase in short-term interest rates, currently at 14 percent, has stabilized the ruble and might even be getting consumer prices under control.