Are the sanctions against Russia effective?

The EU has adopted its tenth package of sanctions against Russia. A veto by certain member states over details of the package had prevented it from coming into force as planned on the symbolic anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Commentators take a critical look at their impact of the sanctions.

Vladislav Inozemtsev (RU) /

Golden opportunities for intermediaries

On Facebook, economist Vladislav Inozemtsev cites evidence that many previous sanctions haven’t made a real impact:

“For example, it turned out that the average price of Russian oil exports in December 2022, assumed to be 49-50 dollars per barrel, may have actually been as high as almost 74 dollars, so well above the ‘price cap’. Then there were statistics according to which imports of Russian refinery products by North African countries were ten times as high in February of this year as they were in February 2021 — and suddenly there was a jump in these countries’ exports of such products to Europe. And, as was to be expected, post-Soviet countries have multiplied their imports of goods whose delivery to Russia has been restricted.”

Wladislaw Inosemzew
Echo (RU) /

Now normal Russian consumers will feel the pinch

Average Russians are starting to feel the impact of the sanctions, journalist Anton Orech comments in a Telegram post republished by Echo:

“So far there have been sanctions against oligarchs, against state-owned companies, banks and certain structures. But people didn’t associate these measures with themselves and didn’t feel they directly affected their lives. But phones that cost 20,000 roubles [around 250 euros] — well pretty much every phone costs that much apart from the very basic ones — and microwaves haven’t been luxury goods for a long time now. True, this year we have seen how cleverly one can sidestep the bans and import almost everything via Kazakhstan. But it takes longer, it’s more expensive and there’s much less to choose from. ... The point of the new sanctions is that they will ultimately be felt by the people on the street.”

Anton Orech
Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Europe needs staying power

The sanctions are having an effect, but only gradually, writes the Kleine Zeitung:

“Russia has indeed proven more resilient than originally assumed and presumably hoped for. According to experts, the punitive measures are definitely having an effect — even if they have not yet achieved their actual goal. There are too many loopholes, and well-off Russians in particular know how to exploit them. But it is precisely the loss of Western know-how that will hurt Russia, especially in the long term. According to some experts, the Soviet Union collapsed because it lacked the necessary technologies and the state put all its resources into military build-up. We can already detect a parallel here. But Europe will need a lot of staying power.”

Maria Schaunitzer
Új Szó (SK) /

Growing discontent in the east

Új Szó warns of a split in the EU:

“It is telling that only eastern EU countries are among the ten EU member states with the highest inflation. ... Against this background it is not surprising that according to the [recently published] Eurobarometer survey only 49 percent of respondents in Slovakia support the EU’s sanctions against Russia, which have contributed in no small measure to the rise in inflation. ... In short: discontent is growing in our region as a result of the war, and politicians would do well not to ignore it for too long. Otherwise we must prepare for seismic political changes with the rise of extremist parties, the consequences of which we may all come to regret.”

Iván Molnár