The year started poorly for Russia, but it has certainly ended well.
In January, the price of oil was moldering — below $30/b on occasion. Given Russia’s dependence on oil and gas revenue, the budgetary outlook was bleak. Hillary Clinton was going to be elected as the next president of the United States. Sanctions against Russia, imposed over its role in the Ukraine conflict, would continue, and the EU would further frustrate Russian plans for major new gas pipelines and its goal of a total Ukrainian bypass.