Written by Martin Russell,
In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted.
These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover.
Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country’s agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth.
This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016.
Read the complete Briefing on ‘Sanctions over Ukraine Impact on Russia‘ in PDF.