It is mainly about freezing private accounts of villains in
Western banks and refusing travel visas. These measures apparently would do no
harm to the Ukrainian people. It does
sound neat, but actually it would be unlikely to shake up the power, wealth and
the good life of oligarchs.
They will continue to own Ukraine, with their holdings of
industrial and commercial assets, which they grabbed in the 1990s. The balance
of payments for Ukraine as a country derives from foreign trade, which means
exports of products made in Ukraine in plants owned by oligarchs. Payments from
abroad are made to companies that make the goods, usually not to individual
owners of these outfits (sometimes with concealed identities), and are
deposited in accounts of these companies in Ukraine and abroad.
The effects of sanctions are puny, unless the whole
industries are targeted — as in Iran,
for instance. Who says that it would do no harm to Ukraine as a country?