In this article, Brian Henry and James Nixon argue that the sources of the recent crisis in Russia have been developing for some time. Declining productivity, an overvalued real exchange rate, and a chronic fiscal imbalance were the backcloth to the events in the Summer. The reliance on short term government borrowing, and the exposed state of the banking system were further consequences of this long running malaise. Prospects for the immediate future are bleak. If any improvement is to be made in the medium term serious structural improvement in the government finances and the real economy will be necessary.