At the time the sanctions against Russia were imposed, leaders of the European Commission and some Western member states argued that the measures would force the war machine to come to a stop. Since then, over six months have passed and Europe is in crisis: an energy crisis, businesses are suspending operations, people are terrified of their bills, inflation is skyrocketing, and the war is getting more and more intense. All the while, Russia’s revenues are rising significantly.
However, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen believes that the sanctions imposed have a profound and visible effect. In regard to the emerging energy and livelihood crisis, she said that “supporting Ukraine has a high price, but our freedom, international peace order and democracy is priceless.”
“If we look back on the history of sanctions policies, then we can see that such measures have never actually achieved the desired results,” said Imre Boros.
The economist mentioned that sanctions policies began during the Cold War period.
“In World War 2, Germany was defeated with the powerful push of help from the Soviet Union. Afterwards, Winston Churchill gave his famous Fulton speech in 1946 where he essentially declared the Soviet Union an enemy,” reminded the expert. Eventually, sanctions policies were developed which enveloped more and more territories; among other things, Western technological products were cut off from the Soviet Union. An entire institutional system was developed for embargo measures which were strictly enforced. The fact that Europe did not ban the import of raw materials because they needed them was another question.
“Many tried to circumvent sanctions, plenty with success. A system of intermediaries was established. Even the so-called nuclear secrets were leaked to the Soviet Union which got the Rosenberg couple executed. But the Soviets were not without technology – just think of the Sputnik program which sent the first satellite into outer space,” cited Imre Boros.
It is a mistake to think that the collapse of the Soviet Union was caused by the sanctions.
If we look at the recent past, 2014 is a notable example (when the Russians invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula). The Western embargo measures that followed were met by Russian retaliation: in the summer that followed, President Vladimir Putin ordered a ban on European and American food imports. Consequently, European producers lost billions of euros while Russia grew into an exporter in the agri-food industry.
“Now and back then, the sanctions led to a significantly higher cost of living. Everyone in Europe has seen that energy prices have skyrocketed and the negative consequences of this are visible in several areas. Russia on the other hand, has made serious material gains and is not isolated as its relations with Asian countries have become even stronger,” pointed out the economist.
Given all of this, the question arises: why are Brussels and the other Member States forcing sanctions that cause the greatest damage to Europeans?
According to Imre Boros, the politicians in question are trying to show the public that they are trying to act against Russia and in defense of Ukraine in every possible way. This all goes beyond the boundaries of reality and weakens Europe itself.
“More and more people believe that we are moving in the wrong direction, they are protesting against these policies. It is sad that not one word regarding peace is uttered in Brussels, instead, the armed support of Ukraine leads to a prolonged war,” added the economist.
Photo: Ursula von der Leyen (Europress/AFP)