Or are they simply weighing costs and benefits and the cost of NATO being in Ukraine is worse than the cost of sanctions ?

Also read an al jazeera article that high oil prices gives russia confidence to act more aggressively

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    Undeterred yes. Immune no. There is no vaccination against economic sanctions. Although if you really compare it: Russia sends cruise missiles and in return Italy doesn't send nice leather handbags anymore. Maybe really not on the same scale and therefore not very deterring. Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 21:36
  • It's maybe simply to early to tell. Economic sanctions surely do not work as fast as an armed invasion (and even there months long preparation was needed). Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


Very broadly:

Over a decade, Kremlin policy has carefully reduced domestic public and private sector debt and allowed the central bank time to build a war chest of foreign assets large enough to shore up the countries finances for months, if not years.

This means that the sanctions put in place over the past couple of days by the EU, US, UK, Japan and Canada are unlikely to have any significant effect on the Russian economy or its financial stability.

Russian banks imported $5 billion in foreign cash in December

Russian ratings agency ACRA estimates that the country's banks imported $5 billion worth of banknotes in foreign currencies in December, up from $2.65 billion a year before, in a pre-emptive step in case of sanctions that create increased demand.

Dollars traditionally dominate such imports which, along with other currencies, many Russians like to hold as a hedge against any drop in the value of the ruble or rise in inflation, both potential outcomes of foreign sanctions.

Putin, Facing Sanction Threats, Has Been Saving for This Day

Since paying the price for annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia has tried to make its economy sanctions-proof, hoarding currency to insulate the country.

Since 2015, Russia, by diverting oil and gas revenue, has expanded its currency reserves to a staggering $631 billion, equivalent to a third of Russia’s entire economy. It is the fourth-largest such reserve in the world, among the largest of any petrostate’s.

“This is what gives Putin his freedom of strategic maneuver,” Adam Tooze, a Columbia University economic historian, has written.

Crucially, the once-dominant dollar now accounts for only 16 percent of Russia’s currency reserves, which Moscow has replaced with euros, China’s renminbi, and gold.

It is one of many steps toward so-called “de-dollarization,” reducing Washington’s ability to use its control over dollar-based transactions to choke off Russia’s economy.

Russia has also restructured corporate debts in the country to be in rubles rather than dollars, for example.

At the same time, Russia has shifted some trade to Asia. And, after 2014, when Russia imposed trade restrictions on European cheese as a retaliation for sanctions, Moscow replaced lost imports with home grown alternatives.

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    Great first answer!
    – H Huang
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 21:11
  1. Russia is very rich in basic resources for survival (water, energy, food)
  2. The Russians have learned to live in extraordinary circumstances
  3. Russia is under sanctions by some Western countries but not under UN sanctions so it trades normally with the rest of the world (especially with BRICS members)
  4. Russia has diversified gas sales but Europe cannot diversify gas supplies. Now Europe is consuming gas from the storage, when it is time to replenish those reserves, they will have to negotiate with the Russians. If they do not reach a long-term agreement, the price of gas will be very high, which is again in favor of the Russians
  • "The Russians have learned to live in extraordinary circumstances" citation (and explanation) needed. Or do you mean Siberian cold weather? Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 21:38

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