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Unformatted text preview: at time, Putin will be the end of a new 12-year run as president. His last,
highly popular 8-year term as Russian president coincided with high world oil prices -reaching a record high of $147 a barrel -- which he used to boost employment, to build up a war
chest of financial savings, to elevate the buying power of ordinary citizens, a nd to lead a voluble,
chin-out foreign policy. 14 | P a g e Russian Oil DA Affirmative BDL Internal Link Turn – High Oil Prices Facilitate Russian Militarism
[____] [____] High oil prices cause Russian adventurism
Steven Mufson, Staff Writer @ the Washington Post, 2007
(Oil Price Rise Causes Global Shift in Wealth, November 10th http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/11/09/AR2007110902573_pf.html)
Russia, the world's No. 2 oil exporter, shows oil's transformational impact in the political as well
as the economic realm. W hen Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, less than two years after the
collapse of the ruble and Russia's default on its international debt, the country's policymakers
worried that 2003 could bring another financial crisis. The country's foreign -debt repayments were
scheduled to peak at $17 billion that year. Inside the Kremlin, with Putin nearing the end of his
second and final term as president, that sum now looks like peanuts. Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves have risen by more than that amount just since July. The soaring price of oil
has helped Russia increase the federal budget tenfold since 1999 while paying off its foreign
debt and building the third-largest gold and hard-currency reserves in the world, about $425
billion. "The government is much stronger, much more self-assured and self-confident,"
said Vladimir Milov, head of the Institute of Energy Policy in Moscow and a former deputy minister
of energy. "It believes it can cope with any economic crisis at home." With good reason. Usi ng
energy revenue, the government has built up a $150 billion rainy-day account called the
Stabilization Fund. "This financial independence has contributed to more assertive actions
by Russia in the international arena," Milov said. "There is a strong drive within part of the
elite to show that we are off our knees." The result: Russia is trying to reclaim former Soviet
republics as part of its sphere of influence. Freed of the need to curry favor with foreign oil
companies and Western bankers, Russia can resist what it views as American
expansionism, particularly regarding NATO enlargement and U.S. missile defense in Eastern
Europe, and forge an independent approach to contentious issues like Iran's nuclear program.
The abundance of petrodollars has also led to a consumer boom evident in the sprawling malls,
24-hour hyper-markets, new apartment and office buildings, and foreign cars that have become
commonplace not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg but in provincial cities. Average income has
doubled under Putin, and the number of people living bel...
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