The Debate

Putin speaks: Defiant Russian president gives end of year address

Oil prices are plummeting, the Russian currency is nosediving, there's a recession coming... and yet Putin remains defiant. He's got good reason. The Russian president is riding the wave of record popularity. He's even nurtured a strong following among nationalists of various stripes in the west of Europe, including here in France. Given the region's current fraught geopolitical context, can he afford such strident rhetoric?