Academic Claims Sanctions Have Decimated the Russian Economy – According to a paper written by Yale University’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and 18 co-authors, Western sanctions placed on Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine are working as intended and severely damaging the Russian economy.
The paper, titled “Business Retreats and Sanctions Are Crippling the Russian Economy,” is the product of research performed by Yale University academics who used “private Russian language and unconventional data sources” which included high-frequency consumer data, cross-channel checks, and releases from Russia’s trade partners.
The authors also claim to have used “data mining” of “complex shipping data” to create “one of the first comprehensive economic analyses measuring Russian current economic activity” some five months after the invasion began.
The authors state that, as a result of Western economic sanctions on Russian financial institutions and businesses, the country’s “strategic positioning as a commodities exporter has irrevocably deteriorated.” Russia now deals from a position of weakness and still faces challenges as it adopts a “pivot to Asia” approach designed to rely less on trade with the West.
Despite some workarounds and “leakiness” in international sanctions, the paper’s authors say that Russian imports have mostly collapsed and Russia now faces major challenges in obtaining technological parts, with widespread supply shortages already hurting its domestic economy.
The authors also describe Putin’s promise of becoming more self-sufficient as a nation as delusional, showing how Russian domestic manufacturing has come to a total standstill with no ability to replace lost businesses, talent, and products. To top it off, the analysis reveals that Russia’s economy is now struggling with “soaring prices and consumer angst.”
Russia’s claims that oil and gas revenues are being used to withstand the effect of the economic sanctions were also shown as lies by the paper’s authors, and the paper also painted a negative picture of Russia’s future unless something changes.
“Looking ahead, there is no path out of economic oblivion for Russia as long as the allied countries remain unified in maintaining and increasing sanctions pressure against Russia, and “The Kyiv School of Economics and McFaul-Yermak Working Group have led the way in proposing additional sanctions measures,” the paper states, adding that “defeatist” headlines in the Western press about Russia’s economy bouncing back are not factual.
The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly painted a very different picture. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his nation’s economy would overcome the “reckless and insane” sanctions levied by Western states. Putin told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that efforts to hurt the Russian economy “didn’t work” and that Russian government authorities and businesses have worked in a “composed and professional manner” to “normalize” the economic situation.
“We stabilized the financial markets, the banking system, the trade system,” he claimed.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.