There is only one threat to the Russian President's hold on power, says Sir Richard Dearloveby Jay Elwes / March 20, 2015 / Leave a comment
Richard Dearlove, the former head of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, has said that the West is failing to put sufficient pressure on Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In comments made exclusively to Prospect, Dearlove said: “I think the sanctions are a strong way to send a message to Putin and the Russian leadership group. But whether they provide a solution to the problem, I have significant doubts about that. So my attitude towards sanctions is definitely equivocal.”
In contrast, Dearlove said that the declining oil price poses a substantial threat to Russia. Having peaked at just under $150 per barrel, oil now stands at just over $40. The Russian economy is heavily reliant on oil revenues—almost half of Russian government revenue is from natural resources. The fall in price has strained the Russian government’s ability to spend, has caused the rouble to decline sharply and large amounts of capital has been taken out of the country. This could lead to worrying side-effects.
“If the oil price drops further, the consequences for the Russian economy are going got be parlous. That could make Russia behave more dangerously. It could behave worse,” said Dearlove, before adding: “I don’t think that we are necessarily in a very good position at the moment.”