Alperen Kürsat Demirbag
Analysis of Sanctions Imposed on Russia
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the world's tension has increased recently. The large-scaled military intervention was condemned by the Western public and sanctions were imposed by many countries. To prevent the spread of the war to Western Europe, the Western bloc decided to impose comprehensive sanctions instead of responding with military intervention. Imposing sanctions instead of a military response was a wiser choice. Inevitably, these sanctions imposed on Russia significantly affected Russia and even the world. The onset of such a crisis, while the pandemic has only just subsided, has made living conditions difficult. Since almost all sectors were affected badly by this situation during the pandemic period, the prices of most products rose considerably. These economic difficulties, especially in the food and energy sector, have affected people's quality of life. Now, the sanctions imposed on Russia, which has one of the largest economies in the world, have affected the global economic network even more. Of course, Russia is one of the countries most affected by this situation. Here is the point to be noted. We all know the aim of the Western sanctions imposed on Russia is to make Russia step back and stop the invasion as well as decrease the public support for the government. But there is one important detail we may miss here.
The possibility of these sanctions creating a 'us against all' mentality in the eyes of the Russian public is ignored.
Photo by Soviet Artefacts on Unsplash
First, it is necessary to understand the structure of the sanctions imposed on Russia. We are aware of the fact that the main target of the implied sanctions was the Russian government and its supporters. But it is almost impossible to prevent the Russian public from being affected by it. And I believe that these sanctions are capable of affecting Russians living all around the world. For example, the UK imposes a balance limit on the bank accounts opened in the UK by Russian citizens can be given as an example of this situation. However, most of the sanctions that may cause isolation of the Russian people, which I mentioned earlier, are implemented by large organizations and companies. Some of these sanctions are as follows,
International shipping companies UPS, FedEx and DHL have decided to stop shipments to Russia.
Samsung, Nokia, Panasonic, Yamaha Motor, Dell, Canon, Ericsson stopped their sales to Russia.
The use of Google's online payment system Google Play has been restricted in Russia.
Apple has stopped all product sales in Russia, and the use of the online payment system Apple Pay has been limited.
Intel, AMD, Samsung and TMSC cut off all chip supply to Russia.
LEGO has stopped shipping products to its stores in Russia.
Nike decided to close its stores in Russia, the H&M group stopped all sales in the country.
IKEA has decided to temporarily close its stores in Russia and has stopped its sales.
Meta company announced that it will restrict access to Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik in the European Union.
Warner Bros., Disney and Sony production companies have canceled the release of some highly anticipated films in Russia.
Netflix has stopped all its services in Russia.
McDonald's temporarily closed 850 restaurants in Russia.
Although the sanctions of large companies target the Russian government, they are sanctions that will affect the Russian people more. Not only these companies, but also the sanctions of international sports organizations are like this,
The International Skating Union (ISU) announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes are banned from international competitions.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that, until further notice, Russia and Belarus are banned from continental and international volleyball tournaments.
The International Union of Football Federations (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Federations (UEFA) announced that the Russian National Team and its clubs are banned from international tournaments until further notice.
FIFA announced that the name of the Russian national team will be changed to the "Russian Football Union".
Russia banned from Eurovision Song Contest
According to the sanction imposed by FIFA, the Russian flag will not be used, and the Russian national anthem will not be used in matches attended by teams from the Russian Football Union.
As can be seen, the sanctions imposed on Russia are appearing in various sectors. We can say that the goals of these sanctions are both reducing Russia's motivation for the invasion and the support for the government. However, there are also cases, such as the spread of hate speeching against Russian invaders on Facebook. In fact, even though Meta company took this decision against the Russian occupying soldiers, the Russian people also got their share of hate speech. There are intense grudges and hate comments against the Russian people on social media. In addition, Russians are excluded and insulted in online games.
Now we can come to the main point. Can these sanctions, which deprive the Russians of many opportunities and push them to be so isolated, achieve the goal for which they were implemented? Why is the possibility that these sanctions will further fuel Russian nationalism not being considered? Will the Russian people stop supporting their government when they are so excluded from global society or do they stick together more tightly while the whole world is making hate speech against them?
Federal Council: Bloc Accounts / Photo by Jana Leu on Unsplash
When these sanctions imposed by states and organizations are combined with the hate speech of people from different parts of the world, we are likely to face a scenario that is very different from the intended result, or even much worse. While the Russian invasion of Ukraine is unacceptable, the consequences of cornering such a nuclear-powered country can be dire.
A phrase that Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said but ignored should come to mind: Why do we need the planet Earth if there is no Russia?
If this process of social isolation and hate speech applied to the Russian people around the world is not controlled, the people can become more loyal to the government instead of reducing their support, and the Russian people can gain motivation for the Ukraine war. And who knows, maybe even for other possible wars.