Putin does not want to admit to his sanctions problem: Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, a far-eastern region of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off the West’s efforts to force his military’s withdrawal from Ukraine. Speaking in Russian, Putin attempted to spin his invasion of Ukraine as a positive thing for Russia.
“We have not lost anything and will not lose anything. In terms of what we have gained, I can say that the main gain has been the strengthening of our sovereignty,” Putin said.
“Of course, a certain polarization is taking place, both in the world and within the country, but I believe that this will only be beneficial, because everything that is unnecessary, harmful and everything that prevents us from moving forward will be rejected.”
But Also Claims Sanctions Are A “Danger” to the World
While Putin attempts to maintain a brave face over the significant impact Western sanctions have had on his economy, the Russian president is simultaneously doing all he can to pressure the West to ease those sanctions. It’s a mixed message and likely one he hopes the Russian people don’t pick up on.
During the very same economic forum in which he claimed his country had lost nothing, the Russian leader insisted that sanctions are a “danger” to the world.
“The pandemic has been replaced by new challenges of a global nature, carrying a threat to the whole world, I’m talking about the sanctions rush in the West and the West’s blatantly aggressive attempts to impose their modus vivendi on other countries, to take away their sovereignty, to submit them to their will,” Putin said.
His message was clear: that the West’s sanctions are effective. But that’s apparently not the message he wanted people to hear.
Putin also used the forum to threaten Europe, suggesting he could make the continent “freeze” by cutting off the gas supply via Nord Stream 1. The pipeline was previously taken offline over a broken turbine, and for the last week, Russia has been inconsistent over whether or not it would reopen. After days of confusion, Putin finally confirmed that the pipeline would be taken back online if the turbine can be repaired, though insisted on Wednesday that it would be cut off again if Europe imposes price caps on Russian oil and gas exports.
The threat was widely seen as an effort to pressure the West into dialing back sanctions against the country or limiting the aid supplied to Ukraine – and it’s not the first time Putin has tried to relieve the pressure of Western sanctions, either.
Putin says Russia has lost nothing, but the Russian president’s efforts to stop the West’s sanctions – along with his industrial manufacturing industry’s total inability to produce new advanced weapons – suggest otherwise.
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.