It’s truly amazing how Russia retains its ability to surprise one with unanticipated new levels of barbarism. Even we, cynical as we are on Russia, are not immune.
This morning at 10:30 am Moscow time the Russian government shut down the Russian stock market preemptively for two hours, though the MICEX index was down just 1% in early trading (the RTS hadn’t even opened yet and couldn’t even say when it would be allowed to do so; short-selling had been banned before the MICEX even opened). In a shocking display, it was the second time in as a many weeks that this barbaric tactic had been invoked, and this time the circumstances on the ground weren’t close to justifying it. The Kremlin simply panicked with the index flirting with the critical 1,000 point psychological barrier (it had just slipped below 1,010 when the order came to shut down). It did not trust its own stock market, and it could not preserve its poker face. If the Russian government itself feels that way, how is a mere investor (well, riverboat gambler) supposed to react?