Who Knew About Crimea?

I was talking to someone a few months ago about the rumor that the invasion of Crimea was known and made by roughly half a dozen people, none of whom had assets in the West.  The person I was discussing this with suggested that the rumor could be proven by looking at the Russian stock market in the days leading up to the invasion.  To be honest, I don’t know enough about economics, or the way the stock market functions, to pursue it.  But it struck me as an interesting way of looking at what had happened, and the decision making process behind it.

The conversation has been sitting in the back of my mind, so I was not exactly surprised when I saw an article in Vedomosti on Tuesday night that researchers had decided to do exactly what had been suggested to me back in October.

However, their findings seem to indicate the exact opposite of the initial thesis that was presented.  It appears that many more people than 6 knew that something was going to happen.

“Apparently, there were people in the market who traded on macro, or political, information before it became widely known,” Volkova wrote, pointing out that natural gas giant Gazprom’s board chairman, Viktor Zubkov, sold a stake in the company as early as Feb. 11, 2014 — only a few weeks before Gazprom stock plunged 14 percent on March 3.

You can find a summary of the findings (in English) here.

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