Money isn't the most important thing at all right now, but keeping track of the economic fallout for Russia seems essential in order to measure the impact of international sanctions set up over the last few days.
Find a couple of good charts below.
1. The Ruble is down
The Ruble is down ~30% vs. last week. This drop feels less than expected given massive economic measures by the West. Why not more? Still too much oil and gas purchased by the West? Or because China and the Middle East are not participating in sanctions (so far)? Or is the high share of gold as part of Russia's reserves giving the Ruble enough backing? Probably a mix of all of these things.
2. Interest rates spike
The Russian Central Bank more than doubled its key interest rate (from 9.5 to 20%), banned foreigners from selling Russian securities, and ordered exporters to convert most of their foreign-currency revenues into rubles. Such interest rate hikes are designed to keep money from fleeing the country, helping to support the currency but potentially crippling the economy. Holders of Russian government bonds sold en masse, sending bond yields as high as 20%.
3. Russian stocks tank
Russian stocks experienced a meltdown last Friday. The dollar-denominated RTS index suffered its worst day in history, dropping by about 40%, causing the Russian central bank to close stock markets since then. The Russian MOEX index, which tracks 43 of Russia's biggest public companies, also fell by more than one-third last week.
Despite these major disruptions, it looks like Russia's oil & gas exports continue to build a solid foundation for backing the Ruble and the fiscal system.
As accurately shown by The Economist, sanctions on Russian oil & gas continue to be limited given Europe's energy dependency.
Finance is, and has always been, a crucial part of waging war. The ongoing reaction in financial markets will be important to observe over the next few days.
Especially, a diminishing ruble would threaten to vaporize much of the ruble-based savings sitting in Russia's banks. And it would send inflation rates (already high in Russia) even higher.
This potentially drives people to withdraw their cash who quickly try to convert it to more stable currencies, such as the dollar, the euro, gold, or even crypto.
If all this plays any role in affecting Putin's PoV remains to be seen.