Sanctions issued by Western countries against Russia over the past 15 months are having an increasing impact on Vladimir Putin’s country. The economic measures and bans on exports are seemingly pushing the country to provide its soldiers with equipment filled with parts from household appliances. Dr Lawrence Haar, senior lecturer at the University of Brighton’s School of Business and Law, discussed reports focused on Russia’s financial struggle.
He told Express.co.uk: “They’re resourcing, we know there’s lots of illegal trade going through other countries, I’m just telling you what I’ve read in the press as well.
“They’re repurposing things like computers that used to go into washing machines and now are going into missiles.”
The remark by Dr Haar comes a few days after US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told her country’s Senate she had seen reports from Ukrainians claiming that, analysing some of the Russian military equipment on the ground, they found it “filled with semiconductors that they took out of dishwashers and refrigerators”.
Ms Raimondo added US technology exports to Russia have fallen by nearly 70 per cent since Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February last year.
Sanctions issued by the UK are also covering, among others, the transfer of technology and providing technical assistance to Russia, in a bid to cripple the country’s ability to continue its military operations in Ukraine.
Russia’s crude oil and energy exports have also been hugely impacted by the sanctions.
Dr Haar, whose research focuses on the application of financial-economic theory to the energy, petroleum and natural resource sectors, believes the “burden on the Russian economy grows by the day”.
Asked about the effects the Western sanctions are having in Moscow, he said: “They managed to keep some of their exports going, like discounted oil and natural gas that are being sold somewhere else at a slight discount.
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“They don’t have access to capital markets anymore. Within two or three years, the oil industry is going to start going away, the way it went in Venezuela went.
“Even though they relied upon Shell and BP and other major international oil companies to support their technology.
“Gazprom did not have that technology, but they got it from the West. And once those things start breaking, you know, they’re gonna have to start cutting production.”
After acknowledging Russia is trying to make up for the resources it can no longer take hold, Dr Haar added he doesn’t believe Moscow will be able to carry on as it is now for much longer.
He said: “But at some point, their situation is going to get more and more narrow, more stressed.”
As noted by Dr Haar, Russian oil is still flowing, albeit no longer directly to Europe but towards India, China and Turkey who are buying it at a much-discounted price.
Some of the Russian oil bought cheaply finds its way back into Europe, with India in particular turning it into fuels and reselling it to the EU at a competitive price.
The Asian market has allowed Moscow to push back oil exports above levels seen before the invasion of Ukraine. However, this increase didn’t match the revenues, which in March were 43 per cent down year-on-year when compared to figures from 2022, according to figures released by commodities tracking firm Kpler.
Last week, Moscow released a report claiming its country’s economy had shrunk by 1.9 per cent during the first quarter of 2023.