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US media questions Russia sanctions’ efficacy

The punitive measures against Moscow didn’t cause the collapse Western leaders had hoped for, the Washington Post has said

Six months since unprecedented sanctions were slapped on Russia, the country’s economy has still not shown any signs of the collapse that Western leaders had initially expected, a leading US newspaper has assessed.

An editorial published on Tuesday in the Washington Post recounts how soon after the US introduced the restrictions against Russia in response to its military offensive against Ukraine, President Joe Biden claimed that the country’s economy was already “Crater[ing]” and “Reel[ing].”

However, as the article points out, following the initial shock, Russia’s currency, the ruble, managed to bounce back thanks to Moscow imposing strict curbs on foreign-currency transactions and also due to falling imports. Moreover, the unemployment rate in the country has not risen sharply and energy exports continue to bring billions of dollars into the Kremlin’s coffers every month, according to the Post.

The piece went on to cite the International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast that Russia’s economy will contract by 6% this year, a significant upgrade from the earlier 10% projection.

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The article quoted Maxim Mironov, a Russian economist at IE Business School in Madrid, who argued that sanctions “These are certainly working. However, they work slower than anyone expected six months back.

According to the expert, Russia’s ban on oil imports and Russian gas would cause a serious problem. However, the author also points out that Russia is heavily dependent upon Europe’s energy resources, making such a scenario unlikely.

Nevertheless, Russia’s economy has not exactly emerged completely unscathed, according to the Post. Apart from the departure of some popular brands and higher coffee prices, the country’s car manufacturers have had to considerably scale back production and furlough workers due to a lack of imported components, the article notes. It is also noted that thousands of high-skilled workers have fled the country, including pilots and other airline employees, due to Western sanctions.

Quoting Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg, the Post concludes that the “Over time, the technological gap between Russia (and advanced economies) will grow.” with little chance of “Technological advancements and innovations” in the country.

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