More gloom on the ruble from the WSJ: ‘This week’s sacking of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has fueled investor concerns; capital outflows could accelerate to $25 billion to $30 billion in the fourth quarter alone, ING forecasts’. Liberal reformer and Rusnano head Anatoly Chubais has apparently stated that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has put the country’s economy in danger by firing the reliable finance minister. This suggestion from the IMF also implies storms lie ahead for Russia’s economy. ‘I have a growing feeling we’ve entered a new phase of the crisis’: the words of Otkritie Financial Corporation chief executive Vadim Belyayev, who says the company may postpone an initial public offering as economic problems, mainly due to overreliance on energy exports, loom. As the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit kicks off, Thomas de Waal argues that Europe needs to develop a new economic strategy towards Russia: ‘a re-elected Mr Putin is likely to be more aggressive in pushing an agenda of cross-border crony capitalism via for example a customs union with Ukraine’. The Moscow Times reports on how the number of poverty-stricken Russians has increased by more than 2 million over the past year, to make up almost 15% of the population. The combined MICEX-RTS stock exchange is repotedly expected to grow three-fold to reach $13.8 billion by 2015, making it the world’s third-largest bourse by market capitalization. With a major increase in shipping capacity, Russia looks set to become the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter.