Staunton, Aug. 1 – A debate has long been waging between those who say sanctions are having a devastating effect on the Russian economy which is limping along only because of its petroleum exports and those who argue that sanctions are ineffective because they haven’t forced Vladimir Putin to change course.
In many respects, the two sides in this debate are speaking past one another, with the first focusing on economic fundamentals and the second on political impact, but a new study has appeared which should settle the question as to the impact of sanctions on the Russian government. And its conclusions are from the point of view of the Russian economy devastating.
The 118-page study, prepared by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his colleagues at the Yale School of Management, declares “Business Retreats and Sanctions are Crippling the Russian Economy” (papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4167193 and discussed in detail at ehorussia.com/new/node/26490).
Sanctions and what they are doing to the Russian economy may not have the impact on Putin’s thinking and actions that their authors want, but with this report, no one in Russia or in the West who argues that sanctions have been irrelevant as far as the Russian economy is concerned deserves to be taken seriously.
And that fact should but perhaps won’t alter the debate about sanctions in the West and lead those who believe that Russia must be stopped to consider other means of doing so given Putin’s willingness to let Russia suffer while he pursues his aggressive imperialistic war in Ukraine.