Home Economy Western Sanctions Show Russian Vulnerability in Global Economy

Western Sanctions Show Russian Vulnerability in Global Economy

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The United States, Europe and their allies are not launching missiles or sending troops to push back against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so they have weaponized the most powerful nonmilitary tool they have available: the global financial system.

Over the past few days, they have frozen hundreds of billions of dollars of Russian assets that are held by their own financial institutions; removed Russian banks from SWIFT, the messaging system that enables international payments; and made many types of foreign investment in the country exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

The impact of this brand of supercharged economic warfare was immediate. By Thursday, the value of the Russian ruble had reached a record low, despite efforts by the Bank of Russia to prop up its value. Trading on the Moscow stock market was suspended for a fourth day, and financial behemoths stumbled. Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, was forced to close its European…

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