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News Link • General Opinion

Why US sanctions could play into Putin's hand

•, By Fred Weir
The new round of US sanctions slapped on Russia over Crimea Thursday may already be taking a toll on Russia's economy. But how effective the measures will be in curbing Russia's aggressive policies remains a controversial question.
In fact, the Kremlin leadership could have planned for the sanctions in a way that would mute their immediate impact on their intended targets, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his closest associates.
The true effects of the measures, as they percolate through the Kremlin-centric financial and business circles, will sting with growing force in the long term. Yet in the short term, they might play into Putin's hand as he continues to centralize power at home.
Russia's stock market plunged by around 3 percent Friday, after slumping 10 percent in the past month. The beleaguered ruble rallied slightly, but projections show it continuing its recent dramatic downward slide.

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