With Germany threatening to cut off trade credits, Putin reversed his prime minister and ordered the government to find the funds to service its foreign debt “within two or three weeks.” “Nonpayment resembles petty hooliganism,” said Putin’s economic adviser Andrei Illarionov, “like ripping out phone cords or urinating in a doorway.” Payment makes economic sense. High oil prices are bringing in dollars, pumping up the money supply and fueling inflation, which hit 20 percent last year. But paying the debt means amending the budget, and the political case has not been made. There are plenty of tub-thumpers in the Duma who will enjoy pounding the Kremlin on this issue while negotiating a price for their vote.