If Oil stays below $60, what will Putin do? He needs to keep the momentum of Russian patriotism going which has all be funded by higher energy prices. The Russian people would have idolised who ever was President during the recent energy price boom. It just happened to be Putin. Increased miltary spending is planned, my guess is Russia will need an excuse for increased tensions on its western borders and the proposed missile shield will probably be it. If Obama surprises and aborts missile shield plans, Putin will have to orchestrate another area for tension. Everything happens for a reason and maybe this economic crisis at the moment is a blessing in disguise for democracy. Russia needs to be brought to its knees, but then again if it does go to its knees it will do something drastic. AM i wrong in saying that this crisis is hurting countries like Russia more than USA and EU? My understanding of the crisis and its effects is not too good, but my guess is the US will whether it better than most countries, Russia included. AT the end of the day its all a relative game, he who loses least wins. I am living in Eastern Europe and the subject of the politics of Russia is close to my heart. I dont trust Russia as a country. In my mind parallels can be drawn between Putin and Hitler of the early 30's, the whole nation rallied around him giving him more and more power, until he could have all the power he wanted. It will take Russians 15 years from now to realise that the direction their "god" who they idolise has chosen for them was wrong. I see Medvedev hinting at extending the presidential term from 1 year to 6 years. My guess is their government passes that and then Medvedev goes into early retiremnent and Putin, "sigh, relunctantly ha to take over as President again- as a favour to the Russian people he loves so much" My guess is something big is brewing and strife will carry their current patriotism further and for longer if the economic horizon looks bleak. So i am sure there will be some justified invasions or strikes into countries like the Ukraine and maybe even Poland, maybe a lot sooner than you think.