“I can describe the Russian economy as water in a sieve,” Yulia L. Latynina, a commentator on Echo of Moscow radio, said of the chronic waste in Russian industry.
“Everybody was thinking Russia had succeeded, and they were wondering, how do you keep water in a sieve?” Ms. Latynina said. “When the input of water is greater than the output, the sieve is full. Everybody was thinking it was a miracle. The sieve is full! But when there is a drop in the water supply, the sieve is again empty very quickly.”
Standard & Poor’s cut Russia’s credit rating this month for the first time in nine years on concern the country is wasting its foreign currency reserves defending the currency. Russia has used about a quarter of its reserves, the world’s third largest, to defend the ruble since August.