China’s Role in Undermining Effectiveness of Western Sanctions against Russia

2023/12/07 | Economy, interview

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An expert on Russian affairs stated that despite some challenges and uncertainties, the relationship between Moscow and Beijing has somehow insured the Russian economy; at the same time, she said that the West has a long-term plan to weaken Russia through sanctions.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Afifeh Abedi, referring to the signing of the document for commercial cooperation between Russia and Turkey with the aim of increasing the volume of trade from 68 billion dollars to 100 billion dollars, regarding the prospect of sanctions against Russia noted: The long-term economic prospects of Russia in the shadow of the sanctions depends on several factors; in the past two years, the effects of sanctions on the Russian economy have been revealed slowly, and several reasons have made Russians protect themselves from the immediate consequences of the sanctions, but the future of the Russian economy is related to various domestic, regional and international factors.

Saying that one of the effects of sanctions on economies is the reduction of global credit and confidence in the economy of the sanctioned country, and the Russian economy is no exception to this rule, she said: Sanctions can lead to disruption in the commercial flow of goods, services, and technologies; therefore, while reducing its reliance on imports, Russia tried to overcome those obstacles as much as possible by diversifying the areas of economic cooperation with major economic partners and discovering new business partners.

The expert on Russian affairs mentioned that in the past two years, Asia has become Russia’s most important economic priority. Asia, China, India, Turkey, and the rich countries of the Persian Gulf, including the UAE, can be listed among the priorities of Russia’s economic diplomacy. One of the reasons for the slow effect of sanctions on Russia’s economic relations is the depth of that country’s relations with its major economic partners in Asia. China, one of the world’s super economies, showed itself to be a reliable partner for Russia during the sanctions period, and the economic relations between the two countries expanded in different dimensions. Despite some challenges and uncertainties, the relationship between Moscow and Beijing has somehow insured Russia’s economy.

Saying that India is one of the most important special partners of Russia in South Asia, Abedi pointed out the country’s position as the third economic power in the world and its growing political-economic and military conditions and continued: Economic relations between Russia and India despite Energy and arms contracts have two important and significant dimensions that are still irreplaceable for India. For this reason, the relationship between Moscow and New Delhi not only has not been shaken but has also grown, and now the trade balance between the two countries is in favor of Russia. In the following steps, we can also mention the economic relations between Russia, Turkey, and the countries in the Persian Gulf.

Saying that Russia has been able to adapt to the sanctions, she explained: A change in the announced policy of sanctions on the part of Europe seems unlikely because sanctions are one of the essential tools of the West in world politics and to control the behavior of the West’s rival players in the world. Since the past, there has been a lot of disagreement among Europeans, on the one hand, and between Europeans and Americans, on the other hand, about the sanctions on Russia and the type of interaction with Moscow on the issue of Ukraine. But, we are still witnessing the continuation of sanctions against Russia by Europe.

Emphasizing that the problems of Europe, Russia, and sanctions can be explained from several dimensions, the researcher of the Research Institute of the Expediency Council said: Europe’s dependence on Russian energy has made Russia an irreplaceable source for Europe’s energy needs, but Europe uses different methods to maintaining sanctions while reducing the profits and benefits of Russian energy exports to Europe. The most important method, in addition to reducing the share of purchases from Russia, is buying from Russia through intermediaries, which reduces the profits of Russians from energy exports to Europe; but the Russians tried to be safe from this Western sanctions program by expanding the market. The Russian economy largely adapted to the sanctions by increasing trade with non-sanctioning countries and substituting domestic products for imports.

Stating that the long-term effects of sanctions on the Russian and European economies cannot be ignored, Abedi clarified although the limitation of Russia’s options in the East does not shake Russia’s relations with its Eastern economic partners, it gives the Eastern partners an upper hand towards Russia, which is a challenging issue for Moscow. The same challenge exists for the Europeans, for Russia’s alternative sources, especially with regard to energy. Europeans are forced to be more tolerant than other countries supplying energy to Europe.

The analyst of Russia affairs assessed Europe’s bargaining power in economic matters along with decline and added: For this reason, in the European Union, some countries are demanding changes in the plans and mechanisms of sanctions against Russia in order to make them less harmful and avoid the possibility of sanctions being reduced through third countries. It seems that Europe is trying to minimize the loss or increase the competitiveness of European companies in the Russian sanctions condition, but the fact is that the West has a long-term plan to weaken Russia through sanctions, and in the current situation, the possibility of changing this objective seems unlikely.

She continued: Maybe the tactics will change, but the West’s strategic plan is to weaken Russia in all aspects. Of course, whether Europe and the United States will be able to achieve such an objective is another matter, and it is naturally faced with many uncertainties, one of the most important of which is the return of the effect of the Russian sanction on Europe.

Recalling that the evidence shows that the continuation of Brussels unquestioning compliance with Washington will face Europe with new political and economic crises, Abedi said: The US is trying to overcome unfavorable scenarios through some tactical strategies, such as curbing tension with China, attracting India towards Europe, etc., while strengthening sanctions policies against Russia, save Europe from the deadlock in relation with the East and reduce the political and economic risks on both sides of the Atlantic caused by the effects of sanctions against countries such as Russia and Iran. The American factor cannot be ignored in this regard.

Saying that Russia uses a combination of political and economic strategies to achieve the targets of its economic diplomacy and that the country’s political strategy includes focusing more on developing relations with rich Eastern countries such as China and India, as well as the Persian Gulf countries, she added: Moscow has started new moves to return to the traditional markets of Latin America and Africa, and at the same time, it is looking for ways to improve its relations with Europe or at least part of the West. Despite the pressure of Western sanctions, they have the power to create economic initiatives. The initiative in the financial payment system that Russia has launched can concretely save this country and the world from dependence on the dollar to some extent and weaken the Western sanctions strategy.

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