When the EU decided to apply sanctions against Russia after the onset of the war in Ukraine,its experts and politicians were in such a hurry to please the USA that they did not examine the effects that these sanctions would have on the member states and their citizens.When the Greek government decided to immediately implement the EU sanctions ,it did so without examining the impact that these measures would have on its economy.When 47% of the total energy needs of Greece come from Russia in comparison with 24% from the EU, while 20% of Greek oil imports and 40% of gas imports come from Russia, a Greek government with self-respect that cared for its citizens,would not have accepted so easily the sanctions.Athens imported sea borne crude until December 5,2022 when the ban on crude oil transported by sea was imposed.
The economic effects of the sanctions were catastrophic to Greece.The high energy costs led to increase of food prices and actually created inflation which from 1.22% in 2021 soared to 9.65% in 2022 and in March of this year was 6.70%. In spite of the fact that the government channeled 9.5 billion euros into energy support measures in an attempt to mitigate the negative effects of the sanctions.Τhe high cost of living has created serious problems to the Greek citizens who have to face a reduction of their income and of their consumption.This is why a majority of Greeks are against these sanctions (57% according to the Eurobarometer of February 2023).
It is interesting to examine now if these sanctions had any impact on Russia.When I visited St.Petersburg last September,I did not see any apparent effects of the sanctions . While discussing the issue with average Russians, many told me that they were not even aware of any sanctions!. Expectation of the West was that Russian economy would contract as much as 15% but the IMF showed a contraction of just over 2%..Effective Russian economic policy prevented the economy from free falling.The government provided support equivalent to 3% of GDP in the form of social benefits,tax breaks,subsidies for loans and increased the minimum wage.Intervention by the Russian Central Bank stabilized the exchange rate.
Russia is also supported by a large number of countries representing 59% of world population.In the first seven months of this year ,Moscow has been the second biggest supplier of LNG to the EU countries.While Russian oil is banned ,fuels deriving from Russian oil are flooding Europe because Russian oil sales to China,india and Turkey have boomed.In these countries oil is turned into oil products that are exported to the West.India oil imports from Russia were 69 million barrels in May,which is ten times more than in 2021.India exported 5.1 million barrels of diesel fuel and 3.2 million barrels of jet fuel to the EU in June compared to 1.68 million and 0,51 million in June 2021.Russia is also profiting by the fact that major EU countries are effectively and indirectly violating their own sanctions.German car exports to Kazakstan increased by 507% and to Armenia by 761%.These cars are then exported to Russia.Exports of German chemical products to Armenia increased by 110% and to Kazakstan by 129% while German sales of electric and computer equipment to Armenia grew by 343%.Most if not all of these products go to Russia.
So the question arises that if important EU member states are violating the sanctions that they themselves imposed to Russia,what is the meaning of these measures that have as only result to make life difficult for the EU citizens,without creating any serious problem to Moscow? The EU should start considering a gradual lifting of these sanctions since they are ineffective and their lifting would be to the benefit of the EU citizens and also help stabilize the economies of the member-states by reducing inflation.If the USA reacts to proposals towards this direction, then Washington must be reminded that it continues to import massive amounts of uranium from Russia to service a quarter of the 92 US nuclear reactors..
It is time to end hypocrisy in the EU .It is time to end sanctions that are ineffective and being violated.But more important it is time to stop all war hostilities and start peace talks for the benefit of humanity. And if this does not happen voluntarily by the political will of the so-called leaders of the West,then it is quite possible that their citizens will force their governments to go for peace.Peace movements are being created everywhere in the West and their voice is becoming more and more louder.