Sanctions Against Russia Damage Western Business

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

Global Research, August 26, 2022


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The West itself appears to be the party most harmed by the sanctions it has chosen to impose against Russia. As well known, the US, UK and EU are facing a wave of inflation with all-time highs. And in the same sense, the business world is collapsing in Western countries. The business losses with the end of participation of some Western companies in the Russian market are extremely significant and are causing serious problems for the economy of many countries, with losses accumulating exorbitant amounts.

It is estimated that American, European, British, and Japanese companies have already lost more than 70 billion dollars since February. The losses are a consequence of the packages of sanctions imposed by Western countries on Moscow in response to the start of the special military operation in Ukraine. Many corporations withdrew from Russia or had their activities frozen, losing insertion in the powerful market of consumption, work and raw materials offered by Russia.

As expected, the most affected sector is the energy one, whose losses are estimated at almost 55 billion dollars, generating a series of problems for Western societies. Relations between Russia and Western Europe in the energy sector have always been a central strategic point in the international economic balance and now seem more threatened than ever. However, other sectors are also in similar situations.

Agricultural commodity, food and tobacco markets achieve losses of almost 8 billion dollars. In the same sense, in the technology and IT sector, 5 billion dollars of losses have already been accumulated. And there is also the vital banking sector, whose side effects of anti-Russian financial coercive measures have already led to a loss of 3,7 billion dollars – most of this amount belonging to Société Générale, the only banking group to have left Russia completely so far.

With regard specifically to the energy sector, the European and British companies most affected were BP, Linde, Uniper and Total Energies, whose billions of dollars in assets were harmed as a result of the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and other Russian-European projects of cooperation. The process of disintegration of the Russian and European energy markets will not be so easily completed, as it is necessary to reverse a scenario of decades of cooperation, which will undoubtedly take time.

For example, BP, which announced its unconditional withdrawal from the Russian market in February, still remains one of Rosneft’s main partners, owning 19.75% of its shares. However, the process of disintegration has progressively advanced. BP itself revealed a loss of more than 25 billion dollars due to the freezing of its activities in Russia, pointing to a scenario that indicates a path towards the end of the cooperation in the near future.

American and Japanese energy companies are heading in the same direction. ExxonMobil, Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corporation were some of the companies that had the most losses in recent months, mainly as a result of the effects that the coercive measures had on the Sakhalin-I and Sakhalin-II projects. Obviously, other energy companies were also affected by the packages of sanctions, albeit on a smaller scale, showing a scenario of generalized losses for this sector’s businesses.

For Russia, however, the deficits are much smaller and almost never imply real losses, but market restructurings. In energy, Russian oil and gas production remains strong and active, unaffected by the departure of some Western companies. The withdrawal of these companies makes room for other markets, such as the Chinese and Indian, which are the ones that have stood out in the search for Russian oil and gas in recent months. Meanwhile, Western companies lose important sources of supply that will not be easily resolved.

As for market sectors in which Russian consumption was of interest to Western companies, there are even fewer losses. The corporations that withdrew from Russia left their physical production structures there, which could be used by Moscow, generating employment for the Russian population, internal circulation of capital and economic progress.

For example, McDonald’s lost more than one billion dollars with its adherence to anti-Russian measures, but its withdrawal from the local market made room for the nationalization of the company’s production structures, and a Russian national company was created to sell fast food for Russian citizens. The same is currently happening with other Western companies that have left the Russian market. In short, the West lost a rich consumer market and handed over to Moscow all the necessary means for Russians themselves to supply their population with such goods and services.

In practice, all these facts simply mean damage to Western business. Entrepreneurs do not appear to have been consulted by heads of state on whether or not sanctions were in their best interest. The measures were simply imposed unilaterally to meet NATO’s geopolitical plans, without considering the opinion of companies that generate jobs for Western citizens. Currently, there are still plans to completely ban the entry of Russian citizens into Europe, which according to estimates will generate losses of more than 20 billion euros, harming the entire European market.

In fact, western sanctions, if not reversed, will lead the world into a global recession in which the most affected will be the western countries themselves. To avoid this, the business sector must mobilize to demand an end to sanctions.


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Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant. You can follow Lucas on Twitter.

Featured image is from InfoBrics

The original source of this article is InfoBrics

Copyright © Lucas Leiroz de AlmeidaInfoBrics, 2022

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