General Article Economic sanctions may deal fatal blow to Russia’s already-weak domestic opposition

Topic Selected: War and Conflict

Economic sanctions may deal fatal blow to Russia’s already-weak domestic opposition

Russian police have detained thousands of Russians who have taken to the streets to protest the invasion of Ukraine. AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

Brian Grodsky, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The West has responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing harsh economic sanctions.

Most consequentially, key Russian banks have been cut out of the SWIFT payments messaging system, making financial transactions much more difficult. The United States, European Union and others also moved to freeze Russian Central Bank reserves. And U.S. President Joe Biden is placing a total ban on Russian oil imports.

These sanctions are aimed at generating opposition from both Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and everyday Russians. As a scholar who studies regime change, I believe the risk is that they will actually drive the Kremlin’s weak opposition further into obscurity.

A ‘punishment logic...

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