Although in the western tradition Ketu (south lunar node) is considered as “minimising” bad effects of malefics (Saturn and Mars), and not much attention is paid to this “fictitious planet", in the oriental Jyotish tradition (Vedic), it is stressed that conjunctions with nodes (south Ketu and north Rahu) are very powerful and make manifestations of any planet erratic and catastrophic. The effect increases especially in those periods when the fast-moving Moon forms tight aspects with an afflicted planet.
This can be illustrated in the recent dramatic events when the Moon was moving through Pisces in opposition to conjunction of Saturn and Ketu (11-13 January 2008)
If we look back at the previous conjunction of Ketu and Saturn in 1996-1997, it was a gloomy period in the Russian politics. In the summer of 1996, Yeltsin was again elected a president - those elections were known as corrupted and were much less fair than, for example, the recent Parlamentary elections in Russia (so heavily criticised in the West). Yeltsin was elected, although he was already ill (later in the year he underwent heart surgery) and he created a goverment with Chernomyrdin as prime-minister. This government had two periods: with Potanin (14.08.1996-17.03.1997) and Chubais & Nemtsov (17.03.1997 -23.03.1998). The latter were "young reformers" who started extravagant economic moves which led the country (together with short-lived government of Kirienko in 1998) to the ill-famous default of 1998.
Not to put here my emotions and pain about my country, I just give a quote from Wiki: "...to finance Russia's growing foreign debt and gain support from the Russian business elite for his bid in the 1996 presidential elections, the Russian president prepared for a new wave of privatization offering stock shares in some of Russia's most valuable state enterprises in exchange for bank loans. The program was promoted as a way of simultaneously speeding up privatization and ensuring the government a much-needed infusion of cash for its operating needs. However, the deals were effectively giveaways of valuable state assets to a small group of tycoons in finance, industry, energy, telecommunications, and the media who came to be known as "oligarchs" in the mid-1990s. By summer 1996, substantial ownership shares over major firms were acquired at very low prices by a handful of people. Boris Berezovsky, who controlled major stakes in several banks and the national media, emerged as one of Yeltsin's most prominent backers. Along with Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Potanin, Vladimir Bogdanov, Rem Viakhirev, Vagit Alekperov, Alexander Smolensky, Victor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman and a few years later Roman Abramovich, were habitually mentioned in the media as Russia's oligarchs."
This is what Ketu-Saturn can do to a country. So, do not be surprised with the loan market crisis of 2007-2008. Just as it is said in Jyotish, this constellation is erratic and catastrophic.
The period will last until the beginning of May 2008, when currently retrograde Saturn finally turns for direct motion and separates from the wide conjunction with Ketu (which normally moves retro).