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As Sanctions Impact Russia, the Ruble Falls Amid Rising Prices

Meanwhile, Putin and the Politiburo are struggling

When Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed top economic officials last week after a bruising month in which the Russian ruble plummeted to a 16-month low against the U.S. dollar, the Russian president sought to set a confident tone. The Russian economy, he said, was growing again and wages were rising.

But despite the show of bravado, Putin could not avoid mentioning a growing weakness that is stalking the economy as Western sanctions bite ever deeper, and one that has been exacerbated by the ruble's plunge.

"Objective data shows that inflationary risks are increasing, and the task of reining in price growth is now the number one priority," Putin said, with a note of tension in his voice. "I ask my colleagues in the government and the Central Bank to keep the situation under constant control."

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