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SPIEF 2024: West ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with Russian sanctions, says finance minister

Russia is now the fourth-largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity

Western countries are “shooting themselves in the foot” by imposing sanctions on Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday. He was commenting on Russia being ranked among the world’s top four economies in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

The World Bank stated last week that Russia had become the fourth-largest economy in the world since 2021, surpassing both Japan and Germany.

“I think sanctions are to blame. [Western nations] are happy to impose sanctions, but they shoot themselves in the foot. Their economies are stagnating, ours is growing. Therefore, the process [of Russia’s economic growth] has accelerated,” Siluanov said during a discussion centered on the goals set for the Russian economy.

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The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.6% last year. In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%), and France (0.7%).

Russia has learned to overcome the most difficult, “turbulent” situations in the global economy, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and sanctions, thanks to the monetary and budget policy it adopted, Siluanov added.

Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina, who was present at the same discussion, said the regulator had set a target for inflation at 4%. In April, the consumer price index in Russia stood at 7.8%.

Following the imposition of Western sanctions on Moscow following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, inflation in Russia spiked at nearly 18% in April of that year. The central bank responded by hiking its key interest rate to 20%, which helped to gradually lower inflation to 2.3% in April 2023. Following several adjustments, the key interest rate in Russia currently sits at 16%.

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Western nations have targeted Russia with an unprecedented barrage of economic sanctions over the past two years, cutting the country off the dollar-denominated financial system, blocking the nation’s banks from international bank transfers, restricting trade and freezing assets belonging to the central bank. As part of the sanctions pressure, imports of natural gas and oil, and other natural resources from Russia were banned or limited, leading to a spike in energy prices.

In response, Russia shifted trade to Asia and has worked to abandon the US dollar in trade and employ national currencies instead.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section


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