Queen’s experts weigh in on economic sanctions on Russia

‘The Journal’ sits down with professors Kim Nossal and Jane Boulden

Economic sanctions to affect food and oil prices in Canada. 
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

On Mar. 23, the Canadian government amended the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to prohibit the export of certain goods and technologies to Russia in response to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

To better understand the impacts of Western nation economic sanctions imposed on Russia, The Journal sat down with Kim Richard Nossal, professor emeritus in the Department of Political Studies, and Jane Boulden, adjunct professor in the Department of Political Studies.

“One has to recognize that Canadian sanctions are designed to contribute to the broader sanctioning efforts of all of the West,” Nossal said in an interview with The Journal.

This includes efforts from the United States, Europe, and members of the West in the Asia-Pacific.

The immediate question is if the sanctions will have any impact on the prosecution of the war by Russia. According to Nossal, the answer is no.

“The Western actions are going to have much more long-term effects, because it’s likely that the sanctions will remain in place for a long period of time,” he said.

It’s also unlikely Russia will withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

“Some of those sanctions are going to have a huge and negative impact on the Russian Federation, for example, simply of what it means to have a ban on the movement of all sorts of aircraft—that’s going to eventually [harm] internal Russian civil aviation,” Nossal said.

Aside from Russian aviation, Nossal added economic sanctions can also see a broader impact on Western firms. Despite the possibility that Russians may not be able to “eat McDonald’s hamburgers anymore,” Nossal said there are also many Russian nationalists who believe this is a benefit.

Russia will build on a mentality of resilience and self-sufficiency, according to Nossal. Similarly, the country will also likely collaborate with the People’s Republic of China.

Boulden added imposing economic sanctions while targeting leadership, inevitably affects the general population. There are two possible outcomes of imposing sanctions.

“You might ultimately impact the leader, who comes under pressure from the general population and changes because their life is miserable,” she said.

In cases of authoritarian leadership, it’s also possible leaders simply won’t respond.

When asked how Western economic sanctions will impact Canada, Boulden said Canadians will see increases in the price of oil and food, since Ukraine is a big industrial and agricultural exporting country.

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