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AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
What’s so funny?
LOL-USD-RUB

A financial joke devised to poke fun at Putin comes true

Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

The Russian ruble is a joke.

Rather, the currency’s relentless slide has made it the butt of jokes. Here’s one: What do Vladimir Putin, the oil price, and the ruble’s value against the dollar have in common? They are all 62.

A series of brutal trading days for oil and the ruble brought them together today just below the Putin line—that is, $62 per barrel, 62 rubles per dollar, and 62 birthdays for the Russian president:

Both Brent crude and the ruble’s value against the dollar have slipped by more than 40% this year. (Putin’s age, meanwhile, remains steady.)

Last week, Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates for the fifth time this year. The hikes, on top of spending some $80 billion in reserves to prop up the currency, have had little effect so far.

In these difficult times, it’s not surprising that some Russians have turned to humor, like the Moscow programmer who built zenrus.ru, a site that simply displays the value of the ruble and crude oil on top of chilled-out images while soothing new-age music plays in the background. ”Let’s lift the economy through meditation,” its slogan goes.