Chatter in the corridors of a Russian courthouse gave the oil markets a chill Wednesday that reverberated through global stock markets, helping push the Nasdaq Composite down almost 2% at its nadir. With Russia's big oil producer, OAO Yukos, embroiled in an ugly dispute over a $3.4 billion unpaid tax bill, the potential for more disruptions is high. But like Wednesday's short-lived spike in crude, don't expect long-lasting damage from this legal soap opera. (Indeed, crude futures retreated Thursday -- lately down 0.7% to $42.62 per barrel -- as concerns about the Yukos situation retreated, at least for the time being.) Yukos grumbling aside, the impact of the Russian soap opera on the oil markets ought to be temporary. That's good news for the Nasdaq, which has moved in near lockstep with oil this year, according to research by Refco that my colleague Aaron Task recently unearthed. Nasdaq investors should feel lucky they aren't closer to the problem -- Russia's main bourse fell 6% Wednesday on the Yukos shutdown threat. Unlike past crude spikes that sparked recessions, this year's move is more a correction from an excessively low price last year than an outright jump in price, according to Professor James Hamilton at the University of California at San Diego, who has studied for almost 10 years the impact of so-called oil price spikes. Oil was as low as $28 a barrel last September but as high as $36 six months before. "Episodes that were followed by recessions were invariably associated with dramatic new highs, not simply a correction to an earlier decrease," he wrote. And because the price increase is mostly due to greater demand for crude, it's the healthy byproduct of a growing economy, he added. "A booming world economy is good news, not bad," Hamilton explained via email Thursday, suggesting the price increases so far won't cut GDP by more than half of 1%.