April 22, 2022

4 ways Russia is trying to prove it can live with sanctions

Featuring Elina Ribakova

Source: CNN

Journalist Clare Sebastian

Mass unemployment, according to Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist at the Institute for International Finance in Washington, has not appeared yet in Russia, but it is one of the things the Kremlin fears most because of its potential to fuel dissent.

"The more they clamp down on demonstrations, the more I understand that they're worried about unemployment," she said. More than 15,000 people were arrested in Russia in the early weeks of the conflict for taking part in anti-war protests, and the Kremlin has effectively silenced independent media by criminalizing what it deems to be "fake information" on its so-called "special military operation."

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Another key risk, experts say, is Russia's reliance on imported products — many of which are now subject to sanctions. Those can be harder for the Kremlin to counter than measures aimed at the macro economy.

"There is a feeling, especially in the government, that they're going to turn the corner and then there will be a monster," says Ribakova. "And they just don't know when exactly that monster is going to eat them up."

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Authors

  • Elina Ribakova

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy, Economics, and Security Program

    Elina Ribakova Ribakova directs the IIF’s economic research on emerging markets, with special interests in Russian economics and financial stability. Ms. Ribakova was previou...