Is there any evidence that Russia is devaluing their currency?
There are certainly people in the Russian government who are keen to see a devaluation.
They may not have been as effective as they might wish.
In February 2017 the FT reported
Russia is to spend more than Rbs113bn ($1.9bn) during the next month in an effort to weaken the rouble, marking a reversal from the 2014 foreign exchange shock that forced it to intervene heavily to stop the currency falling too far.
The central bank will spend Rbs6.3bn a day on forex transactions from February 7 to March 6, the finance ministry said in a statement on Friday. The move follows a steady rally in the rouble as the oil price has picked up.
The move reflects a desire among policymakers to build up forex reserves last week to prevent rising oil prices from strengthening the currency.
In April 2017, Bloomberg reported Vladimir Putin:
Not content to wait for the central bank to deliver another dose of monetary easing this week, President Vladimir Putin is making clear Russia still has tools to shape the exchange rate to its liking.
At a meeting with entrepreneurs in the Yaroslavl region on Tuesday, Putin said the government is looking for “market-based measures” to affect the ruble, monitoring what he deemed as the “key” issue of its stability “practically on a daily basis.” While couched in terms of keeping the currency steady, the comments were enough to send the ruble into a steeper decline.
In June 2017, Bloomberg reported Denis Manturov as saying
As the industry minister, I support a weakening of the ruble, but unfortunately I can’t influence its levels ... We are in constant dialogue with the central bank, and it hears us ... The devaluation effect hasn’t yet been exhausted for Russian industry".
The report continues
Russia has little to show for the efforts it’s made so far to guide the ruble weaker, even with purchases of foreign exchange conducted by the Finance Ministry since February. Its real effective exchange rate, measured against the currencies of Russia’s major trading partners and adjusted for inflation, appreciated about 5 percent in the year to date through May, central bank data show.
Does anyone in the US really care?
In April 2018, the NY Times said
The comment about Russia is curious. While Russia is of course an important geopolitical player, its sclerotic economy and isolated financial system mean that it’s not an important player in global commerce.
For example, the United States’ trade with Russia is a rounding error — $17 billion worth of imports in 2017 (Chinese imports were 31 times that high). And the ruble is not on the radar of currency traders, the way that, say, the British pound or Swiss franc is.
It’s true that the ruble has plummeted against the dollar this month, falling about 8 percent. But that isn’t because the Russian government is playing some devaluation game. The ruble fell because stringent new sanctions on influential Russians are crimping demand for the currency.
An adage about Trump's tweets is that they should be taken seriously but should not be taken literally. They indicate something about Trump's mood at a moment in time, not some clear specification of a well thought-out policy or analysis.