This is how we know sanctions are hurting Russia

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This is how we know sanctions are hurting Russia

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Now, with much of the world economy repudiating Russia after Vladimir Putin’s invaders stormed Ukraine, the country is once again on the verge of defaulting on its foreign obligations.

Although the West has made it clear that it will do nothing that can be construed as participating in gunfights against nuclear-armed Russia, its unprecedented economic blockade and sanctions are clearly having an effect.

It is unclear whether China intends to provide such assistance to Russia, and both countries denied that Russia made the request. Sullivan flew to Rome on Monday to meet with Chinese officials and discourage aid to Russia.

Here, rubles

According to a CNN report by Charles Riley, Russia is threatening to repay foreign creditors from “hostile countries” in severely devalued rubles.

Either non-payment or payment in rubles for more than $ 117 million in interest Payments on dollar-denominated government bonds due Wednesday would mean Russia is in default on its debt.

Russia has money to pay, but half of it its foreign reserves are frozen by Western sanctions.

The default itself could end up being a closing note, according to Riley, as Russia has relatively small amounts of external debt. But it could cause serious problems for any US company exposed to losses and would certainly further isolate Russia from Western companies.

Potentially grabbing what’s left

Separately, Russia is threatening the growing list of companies withdrawing from Russia, saying their assets could be seized by the state.
Russia’s richest businessman, Vladimir Potanin, president of metal giant Norilsk Nickel – who despite his company losing most of its value is still worth around $ 22.5 billion – has begged Russia not to take the assets of Western societies.

“First, it would take us back a hundred years, to 1917, and the consequences of such a step – global investor distrust of Russia – we will experience for many decades,” he said in a post in Norilsk Nickel’s. Telegram account Thursday.

The only way this really ends

The question will ultimately be whether the Russians are willing to accept their new global pariah status and give up the Western comforts some were accustomed to.

Putin is obviously willing to accept these things.

“Nothing will stop Vladimir Putin,” said Vladimir Kara-Murza, the dissident Russian politician who survived two attempts at poisoning. He appeared on CNN Monday from Washington and said Putin has already written off 30 years of political gains since the end of the Cold War.

“The only strategic ending to this is that Vladimir Putin is no longer in power in Russia. This is the only strategic solution. … Needless to say, only the Russians can do that. Only the Russians can influence the political change in ours. country, “He said.

He argued that the United States and other countries should redouble their efforts to get creative with technology and relay information to Russians in the same way they did radio networks during the Cold War.

RELATED: Ukrainian President Zelensky will deliver a virtual speech to members of Congress

What do the Russians think? We don’t know entirely

What effect the sanctions are having on everyday Russians and whether their minds are changing seems unknowable at the moment. The new draconian laws essentially ended the independent press in Russia and Western news outlets removed journalists from the country.

Valerie Hopkins, a Moscow-based New York Times correspondent who fled the country, told CNN on Monday how difficult it is to gauge public opinion, although it is remarkable that people are willing to risk arrest to protest. .

A woman crashed on the Russian state TV news on Monday holding a “no war” sign and disrupting the propaganda diet provided to most Russians by the state media.

“I have referred to Russians who do not believe their Ukrainian families that there is a war,” Hopkins said. “But since this is happening, I think people are perhaps discovering more information. The problem is that it is illegal to even take a poll or ask a question, ‘Do you support the war?’ “

Watch this: CNN’s Brian Stelter interviewed Yevgenia Albats, editor-in-chief of Liberal, Independent New Times, which remained in Russia despite the new law banning critical reporting.

The West is running out of sanctions

Now it looks like this will turn into a test of willpower. The West is running out of sanctions as its response to Russia has been so swift and severe.

“The United States has done virtually everything possible to sanction all parts of the Russian economy, which will have a devastating effect over time,” said Angela Stent, former national intelligence officer for Russia at National Intelligence. Council, appearing on CNN Monday.

“The Europeans should give up buying Russian hydrocarbons and they are not ready to do so yet,” he said. “They can only do this if they are sure they have other supplies of oil and gas. There isn’t much left to sanction.”

Oil prices go down

In the United States, there are new indicators suggesting a domestic recession as a direct result of the expected rise in commodity prices due to the invasion of Russia, even as oil prices briefly fell below $ 100 on Monday. barrel, meaning that most of the price hike attributed to the invasion of Russia has now been canceled and is expected to come down to gas prices, according to CNN’s Matt Egan.

What exactly can sanctions achieve?

The sanctions imposed on Russia are unique in that they are pinching a country that had been so entangled in the global economy.

But there is some concern that sanctions often won’t lead to capitulation in the end – and these sanctions, so severe, are not tied to a specific goal, according to Nicholas Mulder, a Cornell University professor with a new book, “The Economic. Weapon: the increase of sanctions as an instrument of modern warfare “.

In a question-and-answer session with The Atlantic, Mulder said sanctions need a more specific purpose.

“If there is a perception in the world, or on the part of Russia, that these will be permanent and there will be, whatever Russia does, they will only be a weapon to destroy Russian society and the economy with. I don’t think that will bring the kind of long-term international situation we want to pursue. “

Total sanctions that harm people as well as governments are “morally serious,” he said.

“If we start with policies based on the idea that bad governments and their people are one, then we have acquired a way of thinking that comes dangerously close to how ultra-nationalists and fascists view the world,” Mulder said.

War on the Russian economy

That sanctions are now the key tool of warfare in a globalized society is not up for debate.

The gen. David Petraeus appeared on CNN’s “New Day” Monday and said there will come a time when the Russians will tire.

“At some point, once again, people will realize that the stock market will never reopen. We’re not getting much for our ruble anymore. Various products they took for granted are simply not going to be on store shelves. Still. once, this is starting to happen and will increase in the weeks to come, “he said.

Meanwhile, the war is getting worse in Ukraine

As these economic frustrations increase for the Russians, the military horrors of the Russian invasion keep pouring out of Ukraine:

  • Shocking images of a pregnant woman killed then killed in the bombing of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol.
  • The Russians are ready to lay siege to Kiev and target civilians in a residential apartment building.
  • The refugee crisis is growing. More than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine, including more than 1.7 million in Poland alone.
  • And missile strikes a few miles from the Polish border have brought war closer to NATO borders.

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