Russian roubles. Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

The Sanctions Must Be Working, Just Look At How Strong The Russian Rouble Is Now

Wait. Did I get that right?

ScottCDunn
3 min readJun 15, 2022

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I can remember some of the headlines at the start of the war. I can remember how the press talked up the economic sanctions. The phrase, “we will bring Russia’s economy to its knees” comes to mind. Maybe I didn’t actually read those words in any news account, but that was my impression of how effective the sanctions would be.

I remember the stories in the financial press telling us that the rouble had crashed. The sanctions were going to make the Russian rouble worthless. And for a time, the rouble did crash. I think it was in serious doldrums for about a month.

Now?

I’m not so sure things are going to plan. Russia is still at war. Russia is still selling gas to Europe. They’re selling less of it to be sure, but they’re still selling a lot of gas to someone else.

Russia is also a major supplier of wheat and other grains to Europe and Africa. And Since late March, Russia has demanded that unfriendly countries pay up in roubles.

Google Finance

The chart above is from Google Finance. It shows us that right after the start of the war, right after the first round of sanctions were imposed, the rouble lost about 40% of its value.

Huh. What happened since April? The number of roubles that a dollar can buy has been in a slow and steady decline. That means the rouble got stronger. The same trend holds true for the euro:

Google Finance

I know these charts don’t give the full picture of Russia’s economy. I get that. But if we measure the strength of an economy by the value of its currency, these charts suggest that Russia’s economy is not quite on its knees.

These charts are a pretty strong indication that other countries are accepting Russia’s demands. Unfriendly countries are using their local currencies to buy roubles to buy what they need from…

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