Sanctions will put the Russian economy in decline for decades – Michael McFaul

13 September 2022

The West has introduced the most comprehensive sanctions against Russia in history which will eventually make it impossible for the Russian economy to grow for decades to come.

That was stated by Michael McFaul, Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University at the 17th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting “Ukraine: Defending All Our Freedom”, organised by YES in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“Sanctions take time. Their impact will make it impossible for the Russian economy to develop for years, and possibly for decades. The Russian economy will weaken and will not be able to recover quickly. Thousands of international companies have left Russia, the economic impact will be catastrophic,” said Michael McFaul.

He also admitted that Western sanctions against Russia have not yet achieved their main goal and have not been able to put an end to the war. 

“The sanctions are intended to stop Putin's invasion. There is an opinion that the sanctions will hit the oligarchs, the oligarchs will hit Putin and say: "Volodya, we must stop the war.” This is a naive opinion on how sanctions work in an authoritarian system like Russia. However, the rationale behind sanctions is to make Russia pay for the war in economic terms, and here we see progress," said Michael McFaul.

He called on the West to continue implementing sanctions against the aggressor until Russian troops have completely withdrawn from Ukraine.

“Sanctions should be constantly strengthened. Putin's army invaded Ukraine. Therefore, there should be new sanctions for each day of the war. We suggest stepping up sanctions until Putin’s army has left the territory of Ukraine,” emphasized Michael McFaul.

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Sauli Niinistö
Sauli Niinistö
President of the Republic of Finland, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«When a growing number of truly global challenges would urgently call for common responses, the rule-based international order is crumbling in front of our eyes.»