Western sanctions are quietly starting to bite but their impact is not much felt in Moscow at the moment, Estonia's ambassador to Russia Margus Laidre said on Friday.
"The sanctions undoubtedly have an impact, but our side [the West] is impatient as to whether they are already having an impact. Of course now, when one and half months has passed since the start of the war, we know that food prices have risen, by over 30 percent in some cases, but in Moscow, there is no shortage of food," he told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon".
But the sanctions are quietly starting to bite, he said: "Russian economists have begun to say that even if the war magically ends today, Russia will not be able to return to a market economy with a simple click of the fingers, as it was before the war in Ukraine," Laidre said.
The diplomat said it is very difficult to access how people in Russia really feel about the war.
"If you are [surrounded] by Russian propaganda for too long it will create mental problems in perceiving the situation. The regime has been preparing people for war for a long time. The outbreak of war did not come as a surprise, but it was, however, a shock because it was hoped war would not come," he said.
The ambassador recently spoke with Editor-in-Chief of Echo Moscow Alexei Venediktovwho said polls show 75 percent of people are in favor of war, but that 85 percent do not answer the question.
"Behind this is the fear of draconian laws that have been passed where even mentioning war can lead to 15 years behind bars," Laidre added.
Laidre said the embassy has seen an increase in new passport applications as people who have the right to hold one think it would be a good time to have an Estonian passport.
Editor: Helen Wright