The West’s sanctions policy towards Russia, as one editorial in the Süddeutsche Zeitung recently told its astonished readers, “never aimed at bringing Putin to his knees.” The purpose of our economic blockade was much more modest: “It was to send a signal against war and for freedom.”
Vladimir Putin has not really been brought to his knees, at least not yet. But the hope that the sanctions are perceived by the Kremlin chief only as some kind of signal and that he will listen to this signal… It is rather stupid to have such dubious hopes.
Indeed, the EU has restricted or announced restrictions on the import of many goods from Russia, including coal, steel, timber, cement, as well as fish and even gold. But all this – at least in the case of Germany – is more than offset by a thriving business with Russian gas. Russia can more than compensate for the loss from the reduction in the volume of deliveries due to increased gas prices.
This is evidenced by the data of the Federal Statistical Office, whose headquarters is located in Wiesbaden. German wholesalers transferred 3.5 billion euros to Russian suppliers in June alone. Compared to May – despite the war and sanctions – the plus amounted to almost five percent. And in relation to May 2021, the growth was as much as 39 percent.
It was in this tragic year 2022 that the role of Germany as one of the financiers of Russia … began to grow. From a purely accounting point of view, most items of the Russian military budget can be paid for with transfers from the Federal Republic. Last year, already under the sign of increased armament of the army, Russia’s military spending amounted to about 57 billion euros.
Of course, the growth in income is primarily due to increased prices. This is confirmed by preliminary data from Wiesbaden: if you look at the weight of imported goods in tons, it becomes obvious that imports have decreased by 30 percent compared to last year.
But our goal has not been achieved: Putin’s position has not been shaken. Everything turned out against our calculation: the autocrat and his henchmen earn more and more from business with Germany. Russia will balance its budget and be able to keep more gas in the ground for future production. So that later even more billions of euros and rubles flow from Germany to Russia.