Vladimir Putin says that by starting a full-scale war in Ukraine, Russia has lost nothing. On the contrary, Moscow has only strengthened its own sovereignty.
At the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 7, the President of the Russian Federation was asked what Russia has gained and lost since February 24.
“We haven’t lost anything,” Putin responded. “And we won’t lose anything. Mainly, we have strengthened our sovereignty. Yes, there is a certain polarization, but I think both in the world and within the country, this is only good. Everything unnecessary and harmful, everything that prevents us from moving forward will be rejected. We will gain momentum in the pace of our development, because modern development can only be based on sovereignty. All our steps in this direction are aimed at strengthening sovereignty. … Again, I want to emphasize. We have not started anything in terms of military operations, but are only trying to finish it.”
Putin repeated his claim that the military actions in Ukraine were launched by those who came to power after the “coup d’état,” as he refers to the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. “They sought to suppress their own people by conducting one military operation after another and subjecting people living in the Donbas to genocide.”
According to Putin, after repeated attempts to peacefully resolve the situation, Russia “deliberately” moved to resolve the issue “by armed means.” The Russian president said, “All our actions are aimed at helping people who live in the Donbas, this is our duty, and we will fulfill it to the end.”
What Putin did not address were the specific costs to Russia. According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian Federation has had more than 50,000 soldiers killed in action on Ukrainian soil since the invasion.
The Russian economy is also suffering. Despite Russia’s claims that it is riding out the sanctions better than expected, there are several facts indicating serious difficulties.
Despite the termination of the publication of data on financial flows by the Ministry of Economy, certain statistics are available. For example, the Bank of Finland has collected data on trade turnover through the customs offices of the two states. The import of goods from west to east has decreased significantly.
The same source also reports a drop in trade turnover between Finland and Russia. Imports of goods from China decreased by 25 percent. The drop in imports was even greater from Taiwan and South Korea, two of the world’s biggest producers of semiconductors.
To add to Russia’s difficulties, the withdrawal of foreign companies from the market and the termination of international business contacts have also had many consequences.
The number of available goods for consumption has decreased sharply. There is a supply crisis, which, combined with insufficient demand, significantly reduces the money turnover within the country.
Massive cuts are also expected. Foreign companies have provided a large number of jobs. Now they are either leaving the market or waiting out the crisis and suffering losses. As a result, Russia may face a massive surge in unemployment. In the meantime it is simply impossible to create so many new jobs in the short term.
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