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18 Mar, 2022 13:48

Western sanctions overlook ‘Russian character,’ state development boss says

The harsh economic restrictions will only unite the country, not cripple it, the head of VEB.RF has said
Western sanctions overlook ‘Russian character,’ state development boss says

Russia will cope with the draconian international sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, as those who have imposed them simply don’t understand the unique “Russian character,” Igor Shuvalov, who heads the VEB.RF state development corporation, has told RT in an exclusive interview.

When asked if the country will be able to withstand the current curbs that, among other things, saw Russia being excluded from the SWIFT payment system, a huge chunk of its foreign exchange reserves frozen, and numerous foreign brands leaving the local market, Shuvalov said “yes” without hesitation.

It’ll be achieved through “several years of hard work and full intellectual and physical mobilization,” he assured, noting Moscow had already been successfully implementing import substation projects since 2014. Back then, the country was faced with the initial waves of US and EU sanctions in response to Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia. 

“The people who impose sanctions don't understand the Russian character. The greater the pressure from the outside, the more united we are and willing to do as we see fit,” Shuvalov, who used to be Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister from 2008 to 2018, insisted. 

“We will ourselves figure out what to do at home. We don't need to be lectured and helped by those who seize what we rightfully own,” he added.

Driving the Russians into a corner by imposing economic sanctions “won't do any good” to those pursuing this path, the official warned. Dialogue is the only way to deal with Moscow, he added.

“No one has ever defeated us. People just don't remember the history of the 20th century. They probably have a feeling that they will succeed in the 21st century, but I don't believe it,” he said. 

According to Shuvalov, Russia has been going through “a hundred years of difficult transition” that included “suffering, terrible wars, famine” and other hardships, but it's going to be concluded soon, with the country coming out of it with a strong economy.

Sanction pressure on Russia was ramped up after Moscow sent its troops to Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the breakaway Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.

Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.