Are sanctions against Russia working? Two months on from the first targeting of Russian banks and oligarchs, Putin's grip on power remains as firm as ever. This shouldn't come as a surprise: restrictions on Iran, Venezuela and North Korea have impoverished their populations, but haven’t led to political revolutions. So how successful can sanctions be against Russia today? And even if they do work, will the cost to the West be too much to bear?
The full impact of sanctions on the Russian economy isn’t yet clear. In the short-term, they have created severe food shortages in shops. This, combined with a high rate of existing inflation at 16.7 per cent (expected to reach 30-40 per cent by the end of the year) threatens to impoverish Russia’s middle class, and widen the already vast disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of society.