March 11, 2022

The West’s Economic War Plan Against Russia

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Journalist: Tunku Varadarajan

Just as Vladimir Putin blindsided the West with the fact and ferocity of his invasion of Ukraine, the West blindsided Mr. Putin with the speed and aggressiveness of its retaliatory sanctions. The harshest of these is the U.S. prohibition—put in place four days after the invasion began—on all transactions with the Central Bank of Russia. “This is by far the largest entity ever targeted by sanctions in history,” says Edward Fishman, an expert in international sanctions and a former State Department official. “Putin didn’t think the West was going to go this far. I think the prevailing wisdom in the Kremlin was that entities like that are ‘too big to sanction.’ ”

The best evidence for this “key miscalculation” by the Russian strongman, Mr. Fishman says, is that two-thirds of the assets of the Central Bank of Russia were denominated in dollars, euros and yen: “If he’d thought that the U.S. and the West were actually going to impose sanctions on his central bank, he may have taken care of that sooner.” Instead, a relatively stable Russian economy was “pushed into a dramatic financial crisis in a matter of hours.”

Read the full story and more from The Wall Street Journal.


  • Edward Fishman

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy, Economics, & Security Program

    Edward Fishman is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where he focuses on the intersection of business, economics, and national security. His r...