Even so, Russia reacted aggressively once those sanctions hit. “They have done textbook defensive policies to retain capital and stabilize the currency and avoid a financial crisis,” said Rachel Ziemba, an economic and political risk expert and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
So are Russian sanctions working? Well, it depends on the goal.
The longer sanctions stay in place, the worse it will be. “We’re ultimately looking at an economy that is shrinking, is turning more inward,” Ziemba said.
Russia may figure out how to navigate as a permanently state-sanctioned economy — like an Iran or a North Korea. “These economies, they don’t just stop, they kind of slow down and stumble,” Saravalle said. “But often, I think in the popular perception, there was this point where the economy just collapses — and there isn’t necessarily. Past sanctions programs haven’t had these types of collapses.”
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