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World’s economic war against Russia: News as of March 15

Queue in Moscow. Photo: Tatyana Vasilchuk / Novaya Gazeta

Queue in Moscow. Photo: Tatyana Vasilchuk / Novaya Gazeta

After the attack on Ukraine, Russia faced economic problems and sanctions from a lot of countries and international organizations. In the Russian Federation itself, the authorities call it an economic war. The Page has prepared a compilation of the latest reports about this as of March 15th.

Economy

On March 18, the first scheduled meeting of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation will be held since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the imposition of tough sanctions against Russia by Western countries. Most likely, the Central Bank will decide not to change the key rate, leaving it at 20%.

According to Rosstat (Federal State Statistics Service), during the first week of the "military operation" in Ukraine, prices in the Russian Federation rose by 2.2%, by March 4, in annual terms, inflation reached a record 10.4% since 2015 against 9.05% a week earlier.

After the imposition of sanctions due to the start of the war in Ukraine, the situation of Russian companies has seriously deteriorated: if only a quarter of entrepreneurs fell under the "old" restrictions that had been in effect before February 25, now it is already 84%.

The Russian government has restricted the export of Russian goods. Cereals can no longer be sold to the states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), sugar—to third countries. Restrictions on grain will be in effect until June 30, on sugar—until August 31.

Confectionery manufacturers have notified retail chains of the increase in selling prices, starting from March 15. On average, prices rise by 25-30%. Confectionery from Russian manufacturers will rise in price more than that from the foreign ones.

More than half of the top 30 largest advertisers in Russia are foreign brands. At the same time, 13 out of 16 have already announced they are leaving Russia and suspend business. Including the removal of all advertising.

The company Amway announced the suspension of supplies to Russia and suspends operations in the Russian Federation.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended the certificates of Russian companies operating in the field of civil aviation. The revocation of licenses will also affect Russian airlines. Without these documents, companies will not be able to fly in the skies of the European Union.

Moeller-Maersk is a world leader in container shipping and port management. It announced its intention to sell shares in four Russian ports and also stopped accepting orders for transporting containers to and from Russia. Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of the company's Board of Directors, said: "Russia will face difficulties for many, many years."

From March 15, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has suspended the purchase of gold from banks. This is done to create conditions "to meet the demand of the population."

The Chinese automaker Haval plans to raise prices for cars it produces at its plant in Tula by 40-50%. Cars have never risen in price so sharply. But now, in addition to Haval, only Lada cars are produced in Russia, and it is not clear when new cars may appear at dealers.

Dozens of currency exchange groups have appeared on social networks and instant messengers in the Russian Federation. Prices in them reach 200 rubles per dollar or euro.

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New sanctions

Japan has imposed new personal sanctions against 17 Russians. It will freeze assets and ban financial transactions with oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, five relatives of Yuriy Kovalchuk (a friend of Putin), and 11 communists from the Communist Party faction in the State Duma, including party leader Gennady Zyuganov

The European Union has imposed new sanctions against Russia that include a ban on supplying a number of goods to the Russian Federation. In particular, steel products, luxury goods, premium cars, and jewelry fell under the ban. In addition, the new sanctions include a ban on new investments in the energy sector. Exceptions are made for peaceful atom and energy transportation.

The EU has decided to stop importing Russian steel. The accurate list of goods subject to the ban has not yet been published, but preliminary it does not include semi-finished products, and also does not cover non-ferrous metals, although this option was discussed.

The United States may impose a complete embargo on trade with Russia, as well as block the country's access to international sea routes. In addition, the US is considering imposing restrictions on the export of nickel, uranium, and aluminum, as well as reducing cryptocurrency transactions for Russia. Also, the US will continue to impose new sanctions against Russian entrepreneurs and politicians. These proposals are "on the table" in the US government. They may be included in the next sanction packages against Russia.

The UK has announced new sanctions. An additional 35% tariff will be imposed on imports of basic Russian goods, including vodka. London will also follow the lead of the US and the EU by banning the export of luxury items such as cars, expensive clothes, and paintings to the country.

The UK has imposed new personal sanctions against Russia. The sanctions list has expanded by 370 people. 51 of them are, according to London, oligarchs and members of their families. Their total fortune is estimated at 100 billion pounds. In total, more than a thousand Russians have been on the UK sanctions list over the situation in Ukraine since 2014.

The Spanish authorities have arrested the yacht of the Russian oligarch Sergey Chemezov for $140 million, although it is formally registered to his stepdaughter Anastasia Ignatova.

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