Russia: Sanctions ‘devastating’ economy says commentator

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Moscow has appeared resilient – the Rouble has been the world’s best performing currency after an initial crash and gas and oil prices, two of Russia’s major exports, have reached sky high prices. However, one expert told Express.co.uk the “cracks are staring to show” following months of harsh Western sanctions.

Putin is no stranger to sanctions. Following the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the West imposed sanctions on the Russian economy. Measures put in place then have helped Moscow to weather the most recent, harsher, sanctions imposed, according to Samir Dani, professor of operations management and deputy director of Keele Business School.

He said: “In the short term over the past five months there have been some challenges for Russia but largely they have been able to weather the sanctions due to strategies enacted after the 2014 sanctions.

“Also, they were able to divert some of their oil and gas to China, India and some other countries.”

However, in the long term, the Russian economy is likely to suffer. In fact, some Western officials have said it has already been crippled by the sanctions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pointed to the Kremlin’s “cherry-picked” economic data to paint a picture of the Russian economy far from the reality.

He said: “Now, Moscow has been cherry-picking economic data to support President Putin’s insistence that everything is fine and the Russian economy is going strong. It’s simply not true.

“The Kremlin says that global businesses haven’t really pulled out of Russia. In fact, more than 1,000 foreign companies – representing assets and revenue equal to more than a third of Russia’s GDP – have stopped operations in Russia.

“Many of Russia’s best and brightest have left as well, including highly educated professionals in critical fields, like energy and technology.

“They say that Russia is replacing lost imports from the West with imports from Asia. In fact, imports into Russia have dropped more than 50 percent this year, and imports from China, for example, aren’t making up the difference in quantity or quality, especially for high-end components.”

Prof Dani agreed that the Russian economy is beginning to feel the brunt of the sanctions and that they will hit the Russian economy in the long term.

He said: “In the long term there will be an impact on the Russian economy. The cracks are starting to show, both in terms of industrial economic activity and pressure from wealthy individuals due to personal sanctions and freezing of assets.”

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There are other indications that the sanctions may be beginning to have their desired effect.

Reports have suggested Russian airlines are re-using old aircraft for parts after sanctions stopped the supply of Western-made equipment.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of wealthy Russians have been sanctioned by the West meaning they cannot access their money and property abroad.

Eventually, the Russian elite could become sick of the war in Ukraine which has now tied up so much of their personal wealth.

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