‘The mother of all sanctions’

‘The mother of all sanctions’

Vladimir Kornilov

The West painfully chooses methods of struggle against Russia, recognizing that the entire arsenal of sanctions that could be imposed on us without colossal damage to itself is practically exhausted. Yes, there are voices about yet another “hellish sanctions” or “the mother of all sanctions.” The idea of disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT international banking system is being discussed more and more often. But at the same time, thoughts are no less often heard that all these steps are ineffective, and as they threaten us with new ones, we prepare for them too.
Experts often note with regret that sanctions affect certain industries or business owners, but in general do not affect the life of Russia and its citizens in any way. Judging by the latest statements by Western leaders, it can be assumed that dusty documents of the Cold War times were taken out of old archives and are frantically trying to recreate the formula for success in the struggle for the weakening and collapse of the USSR. Fortunately, many articles have now appeared in time for the 30th anniversary of this event, where they recall the old tactics of Western “voices”: focus on the word “shortage” goods. It worked then. Why not try it now?
First, an experienced State Department “Kremlinologist” Victoria Nuland told the senators that Ukrainians “want to look more like Paris and Berlin than what they see in Sverdlovsk and Yekaterinburg.” The fact that the most authoritative American specialist on Russia suddenly remembered the old name of Yekaterinburg, forgetting that it was one and the same city, perhaps just indicates that she is now studying old archival documents. Then the new German Defense Minister Christina Lamb-recht, as a sanction, proposed to ban Russian officials from going “shopping on the Champs Elysees in Paris.” And then Reuters-spread the rumor that the United States, among other sanctions, is preparing a ban on the export of smartphones to Russia.
One gets the impression that they are again trying to impose on us (and if they fail to impose, then come u-p with) problems with consumer goods, causing discontent in society and thr-owing ideas into it about o-pposing the conditional Sv-erdlovsk to the fragrant Pa-ris and Berlin, where only a select few will be able to go for a longed-for dream – a new iPhone or iPad model.
The most striking thing is that all these statements are taking place against the backdrop of the growth of colossal problems with the supply of retail chains in Western countries, including America itself. The level of this crisis is clearly evidenced by the fact that US President Joe Biden organized his, one might say, Christmas address to the people against the backdrop of a scenery depicting a commercial port and dedicated it to combating the shortage of goods. The whole thing was called a meeting of the president with representatives of the business community and the special unit for preventing disruptions in the supply chain. Such was created personally at the direction of Biden in June this year.
With a happy smile, Biden reported to the people: “The crisis predicted by many has not happened. The parcels are moving. Gifts are being delivered. The shelves are not empty.” Hardly anyone in the Soviet Sverdlovsk of the 70s could imagine that on the eve of Christmas the President of the United States, as his main achievement, would report on 90% of the fullness of the shelves in supermarkets. Yes, and in Yekaterinburg, two or three years ago, this was not particularly predicted.
It is not surprising that Western media are increasingly comparing their residents to “Soviet housewives” who faced constant food shortages. And Biden himself was even compared to Leonid Brezhnev : Newsmax TV presenter Greg Kelly found much in common in the US President’s Christmas message and the New Year’s address of the Soviet leader of the 1970s.
The crisis of empty shelves in stores in a number of Western countries began last year as a consequence of the pandemic and the closure of borders. If in the 80s Americans watched in amazement on TV as Soviet citizens swept toilet paper off the shelves, then we looked with no less surprise at similar footage from America and Europe a year ago. At first, the public was reassured by stories that this is a temporary phenomenon that will end with China’s withdrawal from quarantine. However, a number of countries have faced even more severe disruptions this year. More than half of Britons have experienced product shortages in the past few weeks. And in the USA there are almost 50% of them. Apparently, the latter are not familiar with Biden’s bravura report that the shelves of American stores are literally bursting with an excess of food.
Now experts unanimously say that the crisis in the supply of food and essential goods will not end next year either. And according to a number of analysts, the normal, “pre-pandemic” level of supply will return in the West only by mid-2024.
And note what methods are used to solve the problem of shortage of goods in the United States. We have heard more than once from our liberals from economics the mantra that “the market will regulate everything itself.” However, the fact that Biden created a special structure designed to deal with supply disruptions indicates that without planning elements and state regulation of the economy, Washington cannot cope with the crisis. At the same time, agro-industrial groups in Britain demand from their government to urgently ensure the food security of the state, which, in their opinion, can be achieved only if at least 60% of the food industry is produced in the country.
In this regard, we can only be glad that Western sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions followed so “in time”, before the start of the global pandemic. For several years, under the pressure of sanctions, Russia has dramatically increased its agro-industrial production and strengthened its food security. I don’t even want to imagine what situation our supplier networks would be in if last year, when the borders began to close due to quarantine restrictions, our food sector would still be at the level of 2013, being totally dependent on foreign supplies.
Let’s remember how the sanctions response was initially perceived by numerous critics. What a cry for forever lost Parmesan was then on social networks and on the radio of certain stations. Some seven years have passed – and the chief of the Moscow bureau of the Financial Times, Max Seddon, in the Christmas issue of the newspaper is forced to admitRussia’s food industry is booming after Putin banned most Western food imports in 2014 and spurred the growing farm-to-table movement. The author is amazed that his Moscow interlocutors, sipping carob tea or sucking on cigars in expensive clubs, are more interested in “the excesses of the Black Lives Matter movement and the culture of cancellation in the West” than in the malicious actions of the Russian special services, which his newspaper periodically frightens with….
And the editorial of the same issue reassures the Western reader: they say that the current “problems in the supply chain” are now not as serious as on the birthday of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. It also publishes a half-humorous, half-serious letter in which Santa Claus apologizes to the children for not delivering Christmas gifts on time – apparently, not all Western children listened to Santa Biden’s Christmas address about how he overcame the problems with the delivery and distribution of gift packages.
Against this background, it is all the more surprising to hear the threats of Western politicians to block the Russians from “shopping on the Champs Elysees” and the striking comparisons of Paris with Sverdlovsk. Of course, if it so wishes, the West can create additional difficulties for us by causing an artificial shortage of certain goods – for example, the same smartphones (we have already forgotten how for several years all Apple products were not certified on the Russian market, remaining “gray” here – the term, not very familiar to American senators and even more so to European defense ministers). But even in these conditions, an attempt to return the old tactics of the collapse of the USSR through successful comparisons of store shelves will not work. This time, comparisons will not always be in favor of Paris, and even more so – New York or London.
Moreover, this situation can last for a long time. And two-thirds of Americans are even afraid that from now on, disruptions in the supply chain of essential goods will never stop at all. And only Joe Biden, trying on Leonid Brezhnev’s awards, will happily report to the public that the situation in the United States has dramatically improved. In any case, in comparison with Sverdlovsk and the times of the ascent of the Bethlehem star.

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