Ruble Or Rubble?

After the fall: the struggle continues over Russia's postcommunist economy

Moscow had recently been touting distinct signs of improved economic performance: inflation had slowed from a monthly rate of 25% last year to 4%, and the much battered ruble had been holding steady for about a month and had become something of a hard currency again in most of the former Soviet republics.

Then last week the ruble, which had begun to slip in September, nose-dived in three hours of panicky trading, from 3,081 to the dollar to 3,900, as money dealers rushed to rid themselves of the currency. Ordinary folk joined the traders in bailing out, queuing up in front...

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