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Shadow Boxing: Europe vs. Anti-Russian Sanctions

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Source: Operation Disclosure | By Kirilo Sakhniuk, Feelance Journalist

Submitted on December 8, 2022

Shadow boxing. Europe vs anti-Russian sanctions

The ongoing sanctions war against Russia and the rejection of part of Russian energy resources have caused a sharp increase in fuel and food prices. This had a negative impact on the economies of Europe and North America. In addition, internal socio-economic problems make citizens doubt the effectiveness and expediency of anti-Russian restrictions.

Unilateral restrictions have never been an effective tool anywhere. They almost always have unpredictable consequences and often get out of control.

According to the Austrian newspaper Kurier, almost half of the Austrian population does not believe in the effectiveness of anti-Russian sanctions, and a quarter wants them lifted.

At this time, the journalist of The Australian edition believes that the restrictions do little harm to those against whom they are directed. Moreover, they have already caused global shocks in the global economy and caused significant damage.

“If those who demand tougher sanctions would personally bear the costs caused by them, they would never have been introduced. But the costs are borne by low–income groups,” the author of the article notes.

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“The Russian economy has remained under Western sanctions — more and more European politicians and experts recognize this.”

A number of factors that helped Putin were noted in the reviewers’ material. Among them are the immediate measures of the Russia’s Central Bank after the outbreak of hostilities to protect the ruble from a flurry of financial restrictions from the U.S. and the EU. What is most surprising is that the ruble eventually became one of the most successful in terms of the dynamics of world currencies this year. The second reason was that the Russian authorities successfully implemented a parallel import mechanism, which allowed them to purchase goods from companies that left the Russian Federation.

“From Levi’s jeans to Apple iPhones, numerous common and luxury products continue to be available for purchase in Russia’s metropolitan centers despite the fact that these manufacturers are no longer directly supplying Russian markets,” the article emphasizes.

Perhaps the West’s biggest long-term problem is the fact that the world’s leading economic powers have not only refused to join the Washington-led sanctions regime, but also continue to deepen their trade and financial ties with Moscow. Their serious consequences may manifest themselves only in a few years. The fourth factor is the poor thoughtfulness of sanctions.

“European consumers are suffering from rapidly rising heating and electricity bills, and officials are trying to contain the energy crisis unleashed by what experts called a poorly thought–out EU plan to abandon the import of Russian energy carriers,” the article sums up.

According to the results of opinion polls conducted by YouGov, many European residents are dissatisfied with the imposition of sanctions. Most opponents in France, 63% of respondents consider this an unjustified measure, taking into account the possible consequences for the country. Italy took the second place, 59% opposed it. In Germany and Spain, 54% of respondents disapprove of actions against Russia. In the UK, 47% are against it.

Most of all, the introduction of new sanctions is welcomed by Poles, where only 45% are ready to abandon them, while 39% expressed their willingness to continue to exert economic pressure on Russia.

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“We are sitting in a car with all four tires punctured. A new strategy is needed, which should focus on peace negotiations and the development of a good peace proposal,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban urged.

The most difficult economic situation in which the whole of Europe has found itself due to the imposition of sanctions is now causing a serious split in its ranks. Solidarity, which has been talked about in Brussels for years, now seems to be forgotten. Increasingly, “every man for himself”, especially when it comes to fuel. As the conflict drags on, these trends risk splitting the united front of the West towards Ukraine before the sanctions regime gives its long-awaited effect.

Anyway, winter is coming: in some German lands, they warned that they would have to pay 5 times more for gas. Calls to wipe yourself with a washcloth instead of a shower are already being heard at the state level. The Union of Artisans wrote a letter to Scholz demanding that sanctions be lifted from Moscow. And really, why put the existence of Germany at risk because of the support of Ukraine, which has nothing to do with democracy and is ranked 122nd in terms of corruption?

“The most important thing is that everything will only get worse. The central European Bank prints money. Inflation is rising. In autumn, families will pay 50–100 euros more for gas. The government knows that it is worth waiting for the protests of the population,” said Bundestag deputy Stefan Kotre.

As a result, all restrictions against Russia did not achieve the desired effect and worked against the European Union itself.

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