Originally produced on Aug. 15, 2016 for Mauldin Economics, LLC
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin did three very interesting things. First, he fired his long-time aide and chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, and moved him to a lower position. A few weeks earlier, Putin fired at least three regional governors and replaced them with his personal bodyguards. Removing that many governors is a bit odd. Replacing them with his bodyguards is very odd. Then removing someone as close to him as Ivanov is extremely odd.
Second, Russia raised pressure on Ukraine. The Russians claimed that Ukrainian special forces attacked Russian-held Crimea. They announced that they had sent S-400 anti-air missiles to Crimea. With a 250-mile range, these missiles can reach deep into Ukraine. There were also persistent reports of Russian troop movements along Russia’s western border with Ukraine. An unconfirmed report claimed that a Russian brigade moved into territory held by r