This World Leader Won’t Take a Hint!
Vladimir Putin doesn’t want another term; he needs it. He’s a president riding the tiger, so to speak. He can never get off lest he be eaten, so he must protect his presidency to protect himself, even if that means rigging a referendum on changes to his country’s constitution that allow him to seek two more six-year terms!
If he gets the reconstituted constitution (which he will because state employees are forced to vote for it), then he needs to secure his new terms with a national vote (which he will because people are too scared to run against him). It’s looking like a geopolitical stalemate will endure until 2036, when he’s 83 years old, unless he somehow loses grip.
Vladimir Putin helped reduce poverty in his first two terms when gross domestic product (GDP) neared 7%. Now, it’s 2%, and Putin’s position is undermined by falling incomes, unpopular pension reforms, and of course, the pandemic. We’re not expecting him to get overthrown or assassinated, but keep an eye on defense stocks as tensions rise!
Russia is viewed by most investors as a petrochemical state, run by the mob, for the mob, despite being the world’s largest country by landmass. It’s under sanctions and has few major industries outside of energy and defense, but it has a big presence in those global arenas.
Mother Russia was a first mover in the oil price war, responsible for how oil and gas stocks have been obliterated worldwide. Its binge drilling took the meaning out of cartel pacts, and although first to yield, it seems Putin will still be at the heart of deciding future oil prices for years to come. That’s Putin, specifically!