Russian President Vladimir Putin has been called a “di**head and a robber” by “prankster hackers” who broke into an electronic news ticker in the Siberian city of Surgut, population 400,000, to vent their frustration with the ailing ruble.
Someone broadcasted on a building’s roofline lighted looping display the messages “100 rubles to the dollar – you’re out of your f***ing mind.”
The ruble has dropped to its lowest level in 17 months, continuing a general downturn in early 2022 after a robust rebound post-pandemic.
In reaction to the Ukraine crisis, sanctions imposed on Russia have hurt the ruble’s performance, forcing an extraordinary meeting to debate a rate increase earlier today.
It has not been determined who was responsible for the ticker, but since last year’s invasion, authorities have tightened the rules prohibiting anti-war sentiments and public protest.
Since the conflict broke out, Russia has had difficulty getting goods exported and transportation insured.
As a result of the European Union’s restriction on exporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products, Russia’s oil and gas industry has taken a significant financial hit.
Even though the West has decided not to impose sanctions on Russian food and fertilizer exports, Moscow claims that difficulties in processing Russian payments and securing vessels and insurance have impeded its vital shipments.
As a result of these problems, the ruble’s value has dropped dramatically against the dollar, from 0.185 on June 24 of last year to barely 0.0102 in August of this year.
During an earlier emergency meeting, Russia’s central bank boosted interest rates by 3.5 percentage points to 12%.
In the end, the declaration didn’t change much, and it presented a difficulty for Vladimir Putin as he kept pumping more resources into his invasion of Ukraine.
According to a report in May, Russia might lose as much as $67 billion per year because of the conflict.
Russia’s defense budget is set to increase from over $30 billion annually to over $100 billion by 2023, accounting for over a third of the country’s total budget.
Inflation caused by printing additional money might be disastrous for the population, further eroding support for the war.
Getting accurate data is challenging since Russians are reluctant to speak openly for fear of being purged. Instead, they hack into building marquee displays and complain.