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5 Nov, 2023 21:51

West ‘shocked’ by Russia’s sanctions resilience – deputy PM

The country has shown economic strength and the ability to pursue independent policy on the global stage, Andrey Belousov has said
West ‘shocked’ by Russia’s sanctions resilience – deputy PM

Russia’s resilience in the face of the unprecedented Western sanctions pressure has caught the US and its allies off guard, the nation’s first deputy prime minister, Andrey Belousov, said on Sunday. Moscow has achieved economic sovereignty and demonstrated the ability to pursue independent policy and defend national interests despite external pressure, he added.

“The West was shocked that Russia stood fast in the face of sanctions,” Belousov said at a major exhibition that opened in Moscow over the weekend. “We were foretold of a catastrophe comparable to the 1990s,” when Russia suffered through what is considered the worst economic crisis in the nation’s modern history.

When Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the US and its allies responded with an unprecedented range of economic sanctions. Several Russian banks were cut off from the SWIFT system, while many foreign companies, ranging from luxury clothing brands to IKEA, announced they would cease operations in the country.

The nation’s GDP shrank by 2.1% last year amid the sanctions. However, according to President Vladimir Putin, it has completely recovered from the downturn as of October this year. In 2023, GDP is projected to expand by 2.8% despite the continued economic pressure, the Kremlin said this week.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Russia’s GDP to grow 2.2% in 2023, up from its April forecast of 0.7%, and July projection of 1.5%.

According to Belousov, Russia entered a “period of strengthening sovereignty” in 2022. He noted that economic sovereignty does not mean isolation; rather, it means the ability of a country to pursue its own agenda and goals in a “changing world.”

The deputy prime minister also said that a key factor in economic sovereignty is having a well-established international partnership system which contributes to the nation’s position in the global economy. Other factors, he said, include a strong system of national education and science capable of producing new technology, modern infrastructure, effective government institutions, low inflation and budget deficit, as well as stable access to energy, food, and raw materials.