How can it be that the sanctions against Russia, paid for by EU citizens, have led to a drop in the purchasing power and living standards of those very EU citizens, who have not even been consulted? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the fact that they have been fed a diet of exaggeration, tactical omissions and even lies. As prices in supermarkets and energy bills spiral upwards as a result of the sanctions, people are slowly beginning to wonder why.
It is well known how Napoleon’s blockade of Britain actually stimulated and strengthened Britain’s industry, just as Russia is now growing in industrial strength and innovation thanks to the sanctions. And just as Britain found many loopholes to continue trade, so is Russia. Just as Napoleon’s blockade damaged the French economy, so is Europe’s economy being weakened. History speaks.
Even Forbes recently described the sanctions as a ‘total failure’, going on to write that cutting off the SWIFT payment system from Russia could strengthen the Russian economy in the long-term: the Bank of Russia has simply set up its own system, which is growing fast. The likes of India, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia are moving ever closer to Russia economically, with the BRICS also underpinning developments. Yet more poignantly, the Financial Times wrote recently that the EU is set to import record volumes of liquefied natural gas from Russia this year, despite aiming for the bloc to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels by 2027. Russia is one of the world’s leading commodity exporters. The EU, for example, relies heavily on Russian palladium, necessary for engine exhausts to reduce emissions. Shortages here have already led to price increases which are creating problems in the supply-chain, especially for the German and the Italian automotive industries. Russia also accounts for a large slice of the EU’s total imports of nickel and aluminum; disruptions in trade flows are severely affecting the steel, manufacturing, and construction industries.
Smaller countries with weaker economies are suffering unnecessarily, as in the case of Greece and Cyprus: as long ago as April 2021, Greek minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told the Ukrainian ambassador to Greece that Greece had to pay an enormous economic price in terms of exports to Russia. The Greek agricultural industry is indeed suffering, as are the Greek people, who are having trouble paying their bills.
Cyprus depends to a large extent on banking and tourism, both of which have been hit hard by the sanctions. Russian holidaymakers are turning to Turkey, hardly a friend of Cyprus. According to Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides, the Cypriot economy is disproportionately affected compared to other countries, due to the structure of the Cypriot economy and its reliance on Russian tourists.
As we can see, even mainstream media are now questioning the sanctions. Yet they continue, while the EU obeys America’s global diktat. It is surely time for EU members, particularly Greece and Cyprus, to establish an independent commission to analyse the effect of the sanctions. Of course there would be hysterical opposition from Washington, London and the Baltic states. But as governments begin to worry about elections, some may have to listen to the voters, who are beginning to see the idiocy of these failed sanctions, and how even their supposed leaders are still lying to themselves, in a bout of cognitive self-dissonance.
When we add the absurdity of the sanctions to the billions in taxpayers’ money that is given to Ukraine, one can legitimately ask why we are paying for the slaughter in Ukraine, which should be none of our business, while the shareholders and profiteers of the military-industrial-congressional complex enrich themselves further. It is time for the people of the EU to take action and, at the very least, to push for the establishment of a commission of enquiry. It is time for sanity to return.