Ukraine: No, Russia did not get rich from EU economic sanctions, as Le Pen claims

As the war in Ukraine intensifies and The Russians advance in the Donbass, Marine Le Pen, guest of the program BFM Politique, affirmed on Sunday that the sanctions against Moscow were not effective, in particular with regard to oil. Worse still, they would have enriched the Russians and punished France. Jordan Bardella, interim president of the National Association, had made the same analysis last May. They are right?

rising revenue

“We bought the oil from India, which in turn bought the oil from the Russians. In this area, the sanctions have been completely ineffective”, Marine Le Pen quickly developed in front of the presenter Jean-Baptiste Boursier. From there to claim that Russia benefited from these sanctions? This could be said of the figures relating to revenue from the sale of Russian oil and gas.

These revenues could reach 267,000 million euros this year, according to the financial site Bloomberg, or 20% more than the 221,000 million dollars of 2021. But the European economic sanctions are not at the origin of this benefit. At least not directly. According to Patrick Martin-Genier, professor at Sciences Po and specialist in European issues, Russia has above all shown anticipation: “They had planned these European economic sanctions and chose to reinject money”, he analyses.

The figures confirm this: the country has injected 551.4 billion rubles (8.78 billion euros) into its emergency reserve fund to protect itself from Western sanctions. So yes, at the moment, the Russians do not directly suffer from these. Moscow continues to export to Germany. But it would be a short cut to say that Russia is getting richer: “The money that comes from these revenues is reinvested in an economy that is becoming more and more fragile due to European sanctions. There is inflation that is hidden, households are beginning to suffer. They do not communicate on this subject, of course, but the sanctions are beginning to be felt, ”emphasizes Patrick Martin-Genier.

A lower GDP forecast

As for the production of wealth, it is also difficult to agree with Marine Le Pen. Before the start of the conflict, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced, for 2022, a growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.8%. Since February 24, the predictions have completely changed: a contraction of 8.5% of GDP is expected according to the financial institution.

Marine Le Pen seems to be right on one point. The economic sanctions have affected France and, in general, Europe. They are partly responsible for the inflation that affects consumers and households: “Fuel prices are rising, oil prices too. The consumer is shocked, the impact is significant. European countries are at a disadvantage. Germany, for example, fears a lot for its purchasing power. concludes Patrick Martin-Genier. A risk of which the countries that waged a confrontation with Russia in the hope of dissuading Vladimir Putin from conquering it were well aware.

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