How effective are the sanctions against Russia?

The EU states have passed nine sanctions packages against Russia since February 24. However, the Russian economy is surprisingly resilient.

The EU sanctions against Russia could be less effective than previously thought. This is reported by the newspaper “Die Welt” and refers to an unpublished report by the Federal Ministry of Economics.

“The EU sanctions are working: They are weakening the Russian state’s revenue base and curtailing the possibility of producing technology-intensive goods in particular, including in the armaments sector,” the paper says. “However, the Russian economy appears to be significantly more resilient than expected when the sanctions were introduced.”

Economy shrank less than expected

The Russian central bank has therefore managed to stabilize the financial industry and prevent an economic crisis. The tough sanctions against Russian banks and the freezing of reserves abroad have only temporarily shaken the financial sector. The sharp rise in gas and oil prices would also have provided additional income for the state-affiliated Russian energy companies.

The Russian economy shrank by 2.2 percent last year. Experts had expected a sometimes much stronger slump.

CDU foreign politicians: Alternative routes established

In addition, the sanctions are apparently being circumvented by third countries. As reported by “Welt” with reference to security circles, chips such as those used in household appliances made by German manufacturers were secured in destroyed Russian military vehicles. The opposition in the Bundestag also sees clear signs of this. The Union’s economic politicians are particularly interested in Turkey’s role. China, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates are also suspected of being hubs for illegal trade with Russia.

“Unfortunately, Russia’s access to Western technologies was only interrupted for a short time,” said CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter. In the meantime, Moscow has been able to establish alternative routes for importing sanctioned goods. “It is therefore important for the EU that sanctions are increasingly aimed at circumventing activities via third countries and that political, financial and economic pressure is exerted here,” said Kiesewetter.

EU Commission President von der Leyen recently announced a proposal for another sanctions package against Russia. The new measures are intended to prevent exports worth ten billion euros. Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, the EU has adopted nine sanctions packages.