The Russian ruble ended 2014 in bad shape. Not as bad as the Ukrainian hryvnia or the Venezuelan bolivar, but bad, nevertheless. For most of 2014, Russia faced an ever-increasing ratcheting up of economic sanctions. These set the stage for what was to come late in the year: the collapse of oil prices and the announcement on November 10th that the ruble would be allowed to float. When combined, these three ingredients created a perfect storm.