Andrei Kortunov, president of the New Eurasia Foundation in Moscow, writing in the Moscow Times:
Look around at your Russian colleagues, business partners, clients, bosses and employees. Remember how self-assured and optimistic they were just this summer. Remember their grandiose business plans and strategies. It was as if Russia had forever lost the need for the thousands of expat managers, analysts and consultants who were working in the country. It seemed that Russia’s business elite had mastered Western management and finance skills so well that they would begin giving their U.S. and European counterparts a run for their money not only in Russia, but throughout the world.
Where did all of that enthusiasm go? Today, the Russian business community is a state of near panic. Judging from interviews with many Russian business leaders, they are expecting the end of the world — mass bankruptcies and layoffs, sharp declines in salaries and benefits, the devaluation of the ruble and stagnation of the real economy. The transition from extreme optimism to extreme pessimism hit the country like a brick.