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1998 in Review

The Russian Market Collapse

Source: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/Archive

President Clinton visited Russia in early September, as President Boris Yeltsin tried to form a new government and the devalued ruble threatened to paralyze the economy.

The crippling economic epidemic spread to Russia when its currency began to plummet in November 1997, finally collapsing the following year. In August 1998, the ruble was devalued and by August 25 had taken its worst fall in four years. In a futile attempt to stem the tide, President Boris Yeltsin dismissed his entire government twice over the course of 1998.

Russia's financial emergency quickly spread through the Commonwealth of Independent States, particularly to the Ukraine and Belarus, whose Soviet-style planned economies are highly dependent on Russia. Farther afield, markets around the world dropped, and on August 31 the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 512 points, its second-greatest single-day fall ever.

Did you know?  The longest inaugural speech was William Henry Harrison’s. At 8,445 words, it is nearly twice the length of any other president's.

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