Despite repeated official denials, the democratic world’s joint efforts are doing increasing damage to the Russian economy.
Russia is now the world leader in the number of sanctions imposed (more than 5,500 measures), overtaking even Iran. While the Kremlin insists that the only party affected by these measures is the West itself, economic experts and even its propagandists now struggle to deny the effects on key sectors of the economy, following the unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, writes Kseniya Kirillova in Europe’s Edge.
During a summit on economic issues on June 17, Vladimir Putin said that the “blitzkrieg” of measures aimed at his country had failed, that the Kremlin bore no responsibility for the global economic downturn, and that everything was under control. On the same day, the head of Sberbank said it may take Russia a decade to return to its pre-invasion performance. Half the country’s imports and exports were sanctions-affected. Inflation is at 17% and rising, while in 2022 national output will slump by anything from 8%-30%.
Some Western experts do indeed acknowledge that the costs caused by sanctions will affect both the US and the EU and will eventually affect the rest of the world. Russian propaganda has cheerily cited such articles, but for a long time ignored any consequences of the restrictions at home.
Despite this, the cold reality has begun to emerge. For years, Russia has been dealing with lower-level sanctions and working to produce (or smuggle) what it needs. But that process seems to have been a failure — something now admitted by Andrey Klishas, head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building, who said “the import substitution program has completely failed”, and the only thing that industry heads can boast of is “bravura reports.” Economist and professor at Moscow State University, Natalya Zubarevich, agrees. It is basically impossible to replace anything at the moment.
She pointed to the car industry, among others, as being heavily import dependent. Foreign machinery had been bought but would now be hard to maintain. Even at her local hairdresser’s, she noted, there was an absence of hair coloring choices because imports were now banned. Meanwhile, workers will be put on part-time contracts and smaller service firms in areas like fitness and catering will simply collapse from lower demand.
“The Russian economy is very tightly integrated into the global world,” she said.
© Copyright LaPresse