Vare: Russia can withstand sanctions for another nine months
Residents of Russia are used to suffering and, based on various assessments, can weather Western sanctions for another six to nine months, energy expert Raivo Vare suggests.
"It is believed that the people's suffering won't reach critical mass for another six to nine months [in Russia] as individuals and companies are still able to adjust," Vare said on the "Vikerhommik" radio show. "But the situation is becoming gloomier and it is increasingly reflecting in what people have to eat," he added.
Vare said that Russian companies that have filled niches left by Western business pulling out of Russia cannot maintain recent standards.
He emphasized that Russia was making preparations for potential sanctions and stockpiling supplies before it attacked Ukraine. "It has turned out these efforts started late last year and the reserves have lasted more or less to this day," he suggested.
Vare pointed out that it is no longer possible to get reliable information about the economic situation in Russia, which is why many assessments are based on manipulated data. "Therefore, we are proceeding from an inadequate database. But practical data out of Russia suggests things are deteriorating fast."
That said, there are no grounds to believe Putin would end the war because of sanctions. We have now learned that his plans are quite different, and I'm sure he will try to continue the war as long as possible, Vare said.
Imports having fallen over 50 percent makes for another problem for Russia. They can still sell oil and gas abroad, while they can no longer buy the things they need. The result is that they have no way to spend or use their oil and gas revenue. Currency is piling up and this is creating pressure on the ruble exchange rate that the central bank wants to keep suppressed.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski