Will Sanctions Ever Impact Russia?
So what’s left for the West? They can never admit to their populations that the sanctions on Russia are fruitless and mainly harm their own people, because that is what happened: prices in Europe have risen dramatically and many sectors cannot export their products to Russia anymore.
For over half a year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting something the Western media tells us is happening any minute now. They keep asserting us that we have to wait. Just a little longer. We’re almost there, be patient. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: the effects of the sanctions on Russia. In March, the EU and other Western countries imposed their first sanction packages against Russia, and they did so with a lot of noise.
Technology was sanctioned, energy industry equipment was sanctioned, transportation was sanctioned, luxury goods were sanctioned, the Central Bank was sanctioned, numerous government officials and random Russians in business and media were sanctioned. Everything was sanctioned. The Russian economy would crumble within weeks. The country would collapse. Well, that went a little different.
Let us look at the facts. Yes, Western sanctions have exacerbated inflation and led to some empty shelves in stores, as many Western products cannot be imported anymore. Russia has also defaulted on its foreign debt, which has no domestic implications. Other than that, the Russian economy is doing fine. It has not collapsed, it isn’t crumbling, it is doing okay. Russian domestic consumption and consumer health remain strong. Global businesses have not really pulled out of Russia, and a brain drain from Russia is a Western myth that is not backed by facts. Moreover, Russia has hundreds of billions of dollars in rainy day funds, so the Kremlin’s finances are unlikely to be strained anytime soon. Sanctions only have made life a little harder for ordinary Russians, as they cannot buy many of their favorite products in the stores anymore. But we cannot be surprised by that, it is always ordinary Russians who get hurt the most by Western actions (and then Europeans still wonder why Russians don’t like them that much).
It is also unlikely that sanctions will slow down the Russian economy in the near future. The Russian state budget relies on gas revenues, as does the economy itself to a large extent. Gas is mainly sold to Europe, and as much as they’d like to, it is impossible for Europe to phase out Russia’s energy. The EU simply can’t live without Russian gas and oil. Alternative energy sources that are powerful enough to replace Russian energy have not yet been developed. For that reason, the Russia-Europe economic entanglement will always prevent a Russian economic collapse.
So what’s left for the West? They can never admit to their populations that the sanctions on Russia are fruitless and mainly harm their own people, because that is what happened: prices in Europe have risen dramatically and many sectors cannot export their products to Russia anymore. Telling the truth would be an embarrassment that would lead to mass protests and possibly government collapses. So they chose to do the one thing they are really good at: lying through the media. They can obviously not say that the sanctions are working, as everyone can see that they aren’t, so their only option is to tell people that they will soon see the effects of the sanctions. They just have to wait a little longer. And that is the story the media has been selling us for over six months now.
And to my delight, I have noticed that people don’t believe it. They have let themselves be lied to for years, but they aren’t buying this one. In the EU, scepticism about the effects of the sanctions is widespread, and people are openly questioning the explanation of governments and media. It is too soon to say, but I sincerely hope that this is the shifting moment when people start seeing through the lies of governments and media. But I suppose we just have to wait a little longer.