Immediately after Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and announced a special military operation in Ukraine, Western countries imposed severe sanctions against Russia.
Of course, these sanctions affected both the Russian economy and the lives of Russian citizens. The countermeasures of the Russian government were introduced as the sanctions came in.
It should be noted that some of the changes came into force as early as March 1, 2022, with the main restrictions relating to currency transactions. Thus, there was a decree approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin “On the application of special economic measures in connection with unfriendly actions of the United States and foreign states and international organizations joining them” on February 28, 2022. This document is aimed at protecting the national interests of the Russian Federation.
Nevertheless, Moscow's response has been rather restrained. The list of banned exports so far includes only two items, timber products and mineral fertilizers, which can become quite painful for the West. However, the Russian authorities have not banned yet, for example, the export of grain to unfriendly countries, because Russia needs currency.
As a reminder, almost immediately after the imposition of the anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow said that the reciprocity principle would be applied in the retaliatory measures, but Russia left a window of opportunity for itself to take asymmetric steps. In essence, the Russian Federation was left with no room for maneuver, and everything that could be banned and restricted for export from Russia was already banned by Western countries themselves.
Meanwhile, the imposition of restrictions on the remaining groups of goods – oil, gas, some metals, and grain – will recoil on the domestic market of Western countries, and Russia is holding off counter-sanctions. We are waiting for the rest of the sanctions packages until their outbursts become quite ridiculous and run out.
As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. When our response follows, it will be like a thunderbolt from the blue. Reciprocal sanctions will be very painful for Europe. In particular, they will create unbearable conditions for the elites, so that the European population already wonders whether the policy of their authorities is far-sighted and nationally oriented.
In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry has recently reported that Japan imposed sanctions against 15 people and nine organizations from our country. Government officials and defense-industrial complex enterprises are on the black list. Russia responded asymmetrically and withdrew from negotiations on a peace treaty and the status of the Kuril Islands, which immediately caused an extremely painful and emotional reaction in Tokyo. In response to Moscow's decision, Japan's prime minister and government officials said that it was “completely unacceptable,” “unacceptably harsh,” and “totally unjustified.” In essence, what looked like a kind of bureaucratic routine from our side suddenly turned out to be a matter of life and death for Japan's political elite. Well, there is good reason for that: the sense of broken hopes and the deadly threat that Europe and the United States might soon experience if they thoughtlessly impose sanctions against Russia.