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Few Russians Are Anxious about Western Sanctions 

Sanctions have been a central component of the Western policy response to the war in Ukraine. As the conflict reaches its one-year anniversary, are they working?  

While the US State Department reports sanctions have been effective in targeting banks, businesses, and oligarchs, new Chicago Council on Global Affairs-Levada Center polling finds most Russians remain unconcerned about their impact. Only about two in 10 say Western sanctions have caused serious problems for their household, and very few say sanctions relief should be a top priority for future peace negotiations.  

Meanwhile, “Putin himself seems unfazed by the economic measures,” Nonresident Fellow Paul Poast writes in World Politics Review. “This is not to say that Western countries were wrong to impose the sanctions they have or foolish to maintain them. They needed to do something. But the economic pain alone will not be enough to change Putin’s calculus.” 

The Data Dimension

Most Russians aren't worried about sanctions, but poorer residents are more likely to have felt their impact. “A quarter of Russians who do not have enough money for food, or just barely enough, have faced very or quite serious problems,” Emily Sullivan, Dina Smeltz, Denis Volkov, and Stepan Goncharov write in their recent report. “That compares to 16 percent of those who can afford food and clothes, but not much more, and 14 percent of wealthier Russians who could afford to buy something like a new large appliance, car, or apartment.” 

What We're Watching

  • Ukraine’s fresh firepower: German Leopard 2s and US M1 Abrams tanks are finally on their way to the battlefield. Emma Sanderson explains why that matters in Global Insight.  
  • The debate over TikTok: “The risk with TikTok is real, but American social media companies pose real risk, too,” Elizabeth Shackelford argues in the Chicago Tribune.  
  • Israel’s judiciary: Journalist Tal Schneider and legal scholar Tamar Hostovsky Brandes join Deep Dish to examine the judicial reform proposal sparking debate across Israel. 
  • Yoon Suk-yeol's reform plans: The South Korean president is eyeing changes to education, labor, and pensions as he seeks to shore up public support, Karl Freidhoff writes in NK News.  

Ask an Expert

"Elizabeth Shackelford headshot"What did President Biden’s State of the Union address tell us about his foreign policy priorities?       
“The first half hour would not have sounded like foreign policy to most Americans, but it sure did to our trading partners and allies. Heavy on industrial policy [and] onshoring,  . . . when Biden says we have blurred the line between domestic and foreign policy, he means it, for better or for worse.” 

—Senior Fellow Elizabeth Shackelford via Twitter 

About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
headshot of Libby Berry