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« Biden's sanctions, pretty tough ... but ... | Main | »

February 23, 2022

Comments

Peter G

Quite a powerful emetic, I agree.

Peter G

Did you get the significance of Putin's third point in your list? That one is all about the natural gas pipelines to the West that crossed the Ukraine to get there. And the Ukrainian insistence on being compensated for this in goods, natural gas, or cash. Which mightily pissed off the Russians and made the Germans not a little feverish about these essential resources being cut off. Which briefly happened.

Now the whole point of the Nordstream pipeline projects was to bypass the Ukraine and prevent this difficulty. Hence German support for them. I give great credit to the German government for their commitment not to license the completed Nordstream 2 project which cost Gazprom a pretty penny. In fact a lot of pretty pennies. It will remain a very long work of art for now such as Christo only dreamed of.

The significance of this is hard to overstate. These pipelines carry a lot of gas to the West. But they also carry a lot of cash the other way. And that is something Putin desperately needs. Pretty hard to keep your economy chugging away and import everything you need including food without good old cash. The Russian ruble is neither an easily convertible nor desirable currency to hold. Even for Russians,hence the flood of Oligarchic Russian cash to European and other foreign banks.

For these reasons I have fairly high confidence that sanctions can work. Putin may not care about them but lots of other Russians including some of those in his inner circle care a great deal. As will the average Russian if things get difficult to obtain and their economy starts to bleed.

I used to think Putin was fairly shrewd but this statement of his puts that idea to rest. Why bother announce the recognition of baby pet states and then tell everyone in the world your goal is the complete absorption of the whole Ukraine. Which includes the parts where there are about zero separatist supporters you can use to stir up shit? That's just Trump level stupid.

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