The United States and other countries imposed sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The US has been especially active in this area, with several rounds of sanctions targeting Russian individuals and companies for supporting the conflict.
But how effective are these sanctions? Do they work? Is there any evidence that they are having a major impact on Russia’s economy or people?
The purpose of the US sanctions on Russia
Sanctions are intended to hurt the economy and raise the political pressure on those targeted. In this case, that’s Russia.
Sanctions can be more effective than military action because they don’t involve violence. They’re a way for countries to punish each other for bad behavior without resorting to force or war.
Sanctions can also be used as a way of forcing countries back to the negotiating table after diplomatic efforts fail. Especially, if there is no immediate threat of war or invasion from one country against another (as was true in Crimea).
Western sanctions against Russia, are they having effect?
Although the Russian government has been able to minimize their impact by stabilizing its currency and bank reserves, they have still been felt by ordinary citizens. Sanctions have also had a significant negative impact on the Russian economy.
The Russian economy has suffered because of sanctions. But the Russian economy is still growing, albeit at a slower rate than before.
Sanctions have significantly impacted certain industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. However, these economic losses have not resulted in any change in Russian aggression toward Ukraine or other countries within its sphere of influence. Sanctions against Russia are not designed to hurt average Russians, but rather to pressure the country’s leadership.
The sanctions also do not directly target large Russian companies like energy giant Rosneft or Gazprom, because they play such a key role in Russia’s economy. These firms are also big enough that they have plenty of money and resources to work around sanctions.
Is Russia really affected by economic sanctions
There is no obvious evidence that economic sanctions against Russia are having a major impact on the country’s economy or people. The population have become accustomed to hardship after two decades of post-Soviet struggle.
Sanctions have not had a significant impact on Russian oil and gas companies, which are still able to operate globally despite the sanctions. In fact, these companies have seen increased profits during the past months thanks to rising energy prices.
In addition, sanctions against Russia have not significantly harmed Putin’s personal wealth or that of his cronies. Forbes reports that “most of them continue to enjoy their lavish lifestyles”. This, despite recent declines in the value of their assets due to economic troubles stemming from sanctions.
This is because their wealth is tied up primarily in cash and other liquid assets rather than company shares or real estate holdings.
The US government perspective about the sanctions
Sanctions are still viewed as a burden by U.S. allies, who would like to see them relieved. But given that Moscow has not ceded any of its gains in eastern Ukraine, support from Washington’s European allies is tenuous at best.
The administration has acknowledged that sanctions alone will not be enough to force Russia to cease its meddling in Ukraine. Or, to halt its cyberattacks against Western governments and institutions.
Instead, they are part of a broader strategy that includes diplomatic outreach and military deterrence through NATO exercises and deployments in the region.
Will sanctions help stopping the war
Sanctions against Russia appear to be having some effect but not enough to change Russian behavior. The Kremlin has been able to minimize their impact by stabilizing its currency and bank reserves. But sanctions are still felt by ordinary citizens.
It is difficult to assess how well sanctions have worked. In fact, there is no clear correlation between their imposition and advances or setbacks for Kyiv on the battlefield.