Having saddled the sanction horse, the British authorities spurred on so that they would fall out of the saddle themselves. Together with Roman Abramovich, they unexpectedly blacklisted his Chelsea football club: tickets for matches cannot be sold, and no more than 20 thousand pounds sterling is allowed to be spent on away matches of the team. Officials in the British Treasury, on a political mission, did not bother to find out how much it costs to transport players. As a result, the participation of the club in the Champions League match to be held next week in Lille, France, was called into question. The Stamford Bridge ticket embargo (now restricted to season ticket holders) will cost Chelsea more than half a million pounds per game.
Due to the sanctions regime, Chelsea will not be able to conclude new contracts: buy and sell players. Money received from broadcasting matches will be frozen. The same applies to all prizes. The sale of related products with club symbols is also banned: on March 10, the official store at the Stamford Bridge stadium was closed. Someth-ing else will be available from retailers not directly associated with Chelsea. The British government claims that their main goal is to deprive Abramovich of any income in the United Kingdom. Now he cannot even sell his club, but if he succeeds in the future, then, remaining under sanctions, Roman Arkadyevich will not see money: they will be frozen, like all his other British assets.
Fans of the club who idolize Abramovich believe that the Russian oligarch once acted as his savior. Now they are gloomily writing that Stamford Bridge has fallen, by analogy with the code signal announcing the death of a member of the royal family: each of Elizabeth II’s closest relatives, including herself, has their own “collapsed bridge” in case of death. Last Saturday, before the start of the match with the Burnley team, when the BLM-applause that replaced kneeling in support of Ukraine was heard at the stadium, Chelsea fans chanted the name of Abramovich. It is symbolic that the decision on sanctions was announced on March 10 – this is the birthday of the club, which turned 117 years old.
Such a squeezing of assets did not come as a big surprise: in London, Abramovich was selected for a long time, besides, England has rich experience in these matters and a solid track record. From a recent one: gold bars belonging to Venezuela have been “frozen” for a billion pounds, and 12 billion from the Libyan Investment Fund has been blocked. But in this sanction frenzy, you can even hurt your own forehead, especially since the economic war with Russia is fraught with serious losses for the attackers.
European leaders are now trying to convince the population that it is right to suffer in order to punish Russia: you need to get a little cold by screwing the thermostats in your houses, stop driving every day and thereby deprive Russian companies of income from the sale of gas and oil. “Your choice of how and how much energy you consume determines how decisive our response will be. By lowering the air temperature in your home, you can significantly contribute to reducing energy consumption and thus make us stronger in relation to Russia!” – calls on the Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.
Britain, following the US, refuses to export Russian oil. The decision will be implemented gradually until the end of the year, and the share of deliveries from Russia is not so large here, only eight percent, but the inhabitants at gas stations have to deal not with slogans, but with quite real prices that are steadily creeping up: towards the mark of two pounds sterling per litre. Inflation in Britain this year could reach ten percent. Europe as a whole is facing an energy crisis comparable to 1973, French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire said.
Svein Tore Holseter, CEO of the Norwegian company Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers, predicts a food crisis, hunger and social tensions in the world.
Europe can refuse Nord Stream 2 as much as it likes, but wild gas prices are already threatening the massive closure of European enterprises producing ammonia, because natural gas is the main component in this technological process. Aluminum, which is needed literally everywhere from aircraft construction to cans, was selling at $4,000 a ton earlier this week, twice as much as last year. The production of this alloy is very energy intensive. You can’t get by with windmills and solar panels, you need gas. At current prices, Nyrstar and Norsk Hydro’s plants in Slovakia are forced to cut aluminum production by 60 percent. in ItalyZinc smelting at Portovesme was reduced by two-thirds. This year Europe may miss 900,000 tons of aluminum and 700,000 tons of zinc.
Automakers are nervous because of rising prices for electricity and materials for components. In addition to metals, they need rubber and plastic. Their production requires a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons, naphtha, half of which is supplied to Europe by Russia. No matter what Western analysts say about our country’s share in the world economy, but as soon as it comes to the real needs of the world market, there is nowhere to go without it, whatever one may say. Russia is the third largest nickel supplier in the world. On Monday, March 7, prices for it soared five times and broke through the mark of 100 thousand dollars per ton. What else needs to be said here?
European politicians are now seizing the moment by earning points on tough statements, but the persuasiveness of their arguments will inevitably fade when those who listen to them will have to open their own wallets and pay for the pleasure of “punishing” Russia. It will still not be possible to escalate endlessly: even the pandemic, which a couple of months ago seemed to be a universal evil, the Europeans have already forgotten. After words about sympathy for people in Ukraine, here, as a rule, the question follows, but will the events in this country spread further – to the entire continent? Then they will ask what to do with the refugees. Other conclusions about the competence of those who manage the pan-European processes today will follow, and this is inevitable.