Russia is one of the largest oil producing nations in the world. The falling price of crude has clearly hurt its economy, but the country has seemed willing to let OPEC try to set the price of oil by controlling its member nations' production levels. The cartel has failed to improve the value of a barrel of oil, which still sits below $50, well down from its peak last summer of $147.
A number of OPEC nations, especially Iran and Venezuela, say that they cannot effectively run their economies unless oil is over $70. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the cartel, has ignored those pleas. It may be gambling that moving prices above where they are now could deepen the already dangerous recession that has gripped the global economy.