The punitive sanctions on Russia, put into place by the European Union in 2014 were supposed to create a consumer crisis in Russia.
New data shows that the opposite has happened. Russia’s agricultural market has become increasingly self-sufficient and what’s more, Russia’s agricultural exports have increased since the implementation of western sanctions.
In 2016 Russia lead in gain exports, shipping out 34 million tons of grain.
Russia has also achieved self-sufficiency in other key agricultural sectors including vegetable production as well as pork and chicken production.
Between recent agricultural achievements and the IMF praising Russian economic management, it is fair to say that Russia has achieved what it frankly ought to have done many years ago.
A country as vast, resource rich and climatically varied as Russia should never have to have been in a position of any kind of economic dependence on any nation, let alone nations whose political climate is outwardly hostile to Russia.
In this sense the sanctions have been a blessing in a thinly veiled disguise. Any excuses for lack of domestic Russian production for both its own market as well as global export markets can be traced to a post-Soviet lethargy that plagued Russia in the 1990s and continued in certain sectors into recent years.
Russia must continue to cultivate its internal market, just as world-export leader China is now doing with its own vast and previously untapped internal market.
At the same time, Russia is increasingly cultivating trade roots to the wider ‘global south’, starting with Turkey, North Africa and Middle Eastern states. This can, should, must and likely will be augmented by increased trade agreements with China and other rising economies of the far east.
Anything less would frankly be an insult to the ingenuity, material wealth and strength of Russia as it would be in respect of any large, powerful nation. This was after all what ‘Make America Great Again’, originally meant.
The same is true for all large nations which is more than can be said for the comparatively small states which compromise the EU; Germany being an almost lone exception.