“Why is Russia not afraid of Western sanctions?”
When all your aggressor does is levy more sanctions on you, they help you discover more ways of circumventing it if you look hard enough.
With the Russia, Ukraine and NATO face off taking over the media space in the last couple of days, it’s obvious the Putin led Russian side isn’t backing down from their stance on Ukraine anytime soon until they get what they feel they deserve.
Russia is not afraid of Western sanctions because of a whole bunch of solid reasons. Here are some of the main ones:
1. Power Games
In the Russian sphere of politics, a leader cannot be seen as “weak”. Being “afraid” is nonexistent in Russian power games.
Having amassed so much troops on Ukrainian border in the past couple of months, it became very much clear that something was in the offing despite the whole media propaganda to be in front of it by some paid propagandists.
In Russia, you play the chess and never show any form of weakness or the wolves around will tear you to shreds. For Vladimir Putin, those wolves are right there in his cabinet and won’t waste time to devour him if they sniff any iota of weakness from the President.
This is because, if he can’t protect himself, how can he protect us or Motherland?
2. Chock-full coffers
One of the most profound dogmas of Russian President, Vladimir Putin is to “sufficient coffers”. Russia currently announced they made about $187Billion+ in surplus after balance of trade.
Having learnt the hard lessons from the scene of the woeful bankruptcy of USSR in the 1990s, Vladimir Putin did his utmost to never allow the Russian Federation go broke when he took over the reigns of the Russian Federation.
At the moment, Russia has little to no external debt, more than half a trillion dollars in the reserves, and as you already know, the current petroleum prices are currently well above the magic Hendrix Number. Yeah, and I also forgot to mention that Europe is completely dependent on Russian gas. Nord Stream 1 is still very much functioning even though the Ukraine crisis has halted Nord Stream 2.
If Russia somehow loses this game, it won’t be because of poverty.
3. Ineffective Sanctions
It’s becoming very obvious by the day that the sanctions repeatedly applied by the West don’t really bite nor have any strong effect on the Russian Federation in its totality.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisations recently halted technology transfers to Russia’s petroleum sector and defense industries. But, Putin’s Russia absolutely don’t mind since they’re capable of developing same given enough time or they can do the other thing whenever they can.
4. Chinese Alliance
China is the world’s number one economic power at the moment and is currently billed to even surge higher. The Chinese recently entered a historic bilateral relations with Russia.
Being China’s partner is reassuring in playing the game of thrones with NATO. This is coming at a time when the rest of the global economy is shifting away from the West. The enemy of my enemy is my (coughs).
5. Fractured Opposition
There is no overstating the fact that Russia nowadays is very much united like they were under the Soviet era.
On the other hand, the West are not on the same footing. For all the sanctions against Russia, Europe’s energy solutions is heavily dependent on Russian.
Western societies are teeming with dissenters, skeptics, pro-Russian voices and persons hell bent on earning money and political capital by playing tango with the Kremlin. Even a past US President, Donald Trump praised Putin, calling his moves “savvy”. Germany, Spain, Italy and France have all abstained from having any physical confrontation with Russia.
So, it’s going to be verbal and propaganda war laced with sanctions as long as Ukraine is concerned at the moment. This was very much telling in the alleged video circulating the media which is attributed to the Ukrainian President, Zelensky saying US & NATO have abandoned his country.
6. Nationalisation of the Elites
This may be another silver lining, although not for the person’s directly involved.
Sanctions are like clouds, they last as much as the person’s imposing them. New change in government usually alters or influences them, depending on the political leanings of the incumbent.
Russian political class is known to be secretly liberal and Western minded. If things don’t go according to plan and the winds turn, a hurricane of massive defections may happen among those with foreign stashes, assets and whose family stay in the West.
Putin is definitely concerned about this. But, is he bothered about it? Well, it depends. The more sanctions are imposed, freezing of Russia’s oligarchs out of their Western estates, holdings and enterprises occurs, the more their fate is tied to the President’s survival.
Since the elites and oligarchy in the Russian Federation probably have secret bonds and enterprises all over Europe and US, if the West decide to freeze them to tackle Russia, they’re actually doing Putin a service per se.
Admittedly, Putin’s act of confrontation with the West will definitely rob Russia of the economic and political dynamism they experienced under him in his early reign to a degree. But, there is also the argument that it ensures stability, sovereignty and a reminder that the bear should not be taken for granted.