After tumultuous year for Russia, what's ahead in 2015?

Share story

Russia sanctions
Protesters take part in a rally against the banks and the growth of the dollar in central Moscow on December 28, 2014. With Russia's mortgage industry still in its formative phase, taking out a loan to buy a home is considered risky business. Even before the crisis, interest rates of 10 to 12 percent on foreign currency loans -- and 12 to 14 percent on ruble-denominated mortgages -- mean many Russians will wind up paying double to triple the principal borrowed on 15- to 20-year loans.
DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russia seems to be on the edge of a meltdown: Falling currency, troubled economy, low oil prices and a jailed opposition leader.

From U.S. News and World Report:

To many of his detractors abroad and loyal supporters at home, the Russian president is decisively executing a strategy to strengthen Russia at the expense of the West. In 2012, when she famously accused Putin of trying to "re-Sovietize" the region around Russia, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued, "We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it."

Indeed, Putin for years has advocated for a "multipolar" world order in which the current dominance of the U.S. is replaced by a more equitable balance of power. And many of Russia's dramatic moves over the past year - the annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine, an enthusiastic embrace of China and increasingly anti-Western rhetoric from Putin - could be interpreted as moving toward a multipolar world.

But Putin's opponents, particularly those within Russia, see him as less of a cunning mastermind and more of an out-of-touch autocrat who has started a fight with the West that Russia can't win.

On The Daily Circuit, we look at how the next year will play out for one of the world's biggest powers.