So the big news now is that the Kremlin has found another impotent, self-defeating way to “hit back” at the sanctions leveled against it for carrying on a losing proxy war. When I say “hit back” I mean “flail one’s arms in a wild and ineffective way until hitting oneself in the face.” In this case the arm-flailing comes in the form of a presidential order to ban the importation of agricultural products and other foodstuffs from countries which have levied sanctions against Russia recently.
Now you’re basically going to see several things happen. The opposition panics, the mouth-breathing patriots dance for joy because they have no idea how economics works, and clever people take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. Even if people’s worries are exaggerated, this kind of action creates instability and lowers trust. It could lead to hoarding and black market activities. But there is another major problem which will just add fuel to the fire.
Many businesses in Russia depend on those products, whether they are restaurants which use them in their kitchens, supermarkets who sell them, or just firms whose business consists of importing and transporting these goods. The failure of these businesses means more unemployment. Basically the government is transforming the country into a ramshackle, Perestroika-era Soviet Union with absolutely none of the benefits that society managed to guarantee. But I’m sure it will all work out fine because…Russian soul or something.
I for one am shocked that a man who has achieved such a high rank in the discipline of Judo cannot seem to apply that philosophy to the world of politics. In that realm, the preferred technique for the moment seems to be the wild drunken haymaker. Look, Mr. President, you lost in Ukraine. Twice you have backed the wrong horse in that country and it turned people against Russia. Throwing a temper tantrum that hurts your own people isn’t going to solve anything. Sometimes it is better to lose with dignity. Learn from your mistakes, and correct them.