the-telegraph

Fortress Russia: How Putin’s sanction-proof Moscow leaves the West toothless over Ukraine

Banning iPhones or switching off Russian banks from the Swift transfer system will affect policy but are unlikely to devastate the economy

Being too stingy, however, may have been an intentional policy. “There are just two things that are required from financial officials in Russia: save up as much as you can and prepare the tools to adapt the economy to the shock of fresh sanctions,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the R.Politik political analysis firm. “They have been getting ready for Russia to live under sanctions for a long time. In the [Kremlin’s] logic, whatever they do, the worst kind of sanctions are inevitable.”

Many in the Russian establishment including top businessmen and finance officials may be genuinely worried about the prospect of war but they do not have much say when it comes to President Putin’s foreign policy forays. “For the part of the Russian establishment that does make decisions – Putin and his allies from security services – sanctions have no effect on Russia’s policies and could even be viewed as a positive factor, cultivating a besieged fortress mentality,” Ms Stanovaya said. “For them, sanctions are the inevitable, necessary cost for ensuring Russia’s security as they see it.”

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