Founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP Robert Amsterdam was recently quoted in the British magazine The Spectator, offering commentary on the counter-productive collateral damage of some Western sanctions aimed at prominent Russians since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
For some Russian businessmen the price of sanctions is not worth paying. ‘The reality is that Russia has survived the shock of sanctions, regrouped and rallied’, said Damian Kudryavtsev, an active and hostile opponent of Putin’s regime. ‘Sanctions have not destroyed its economy, just as they did not destroy the economies of other authoritarian regimes, nor did they lead to the dismantling of those regimes’. Instead, he argues: ‘Russia is looking for – and finding – new markets’.
That new market is, of course, China which is the chief beneficiary of sanctions and a weakened Russia. ‘The sanctions policy should be renamed the Beijing Economic Recovery Act because it benefits China hugely and cannot be over-estimated’, said the lawyer Bob Amsterdam who has worked in Russia for many years.
Since the Ukraine war started Chinese trade with Russia has increased by almost a third to a record $190 billion. Sanctions have resulted in Russia increasing oil and liquefied natural gas to China, second only to Saudi Arabia. Russia now has a trading surplus of $38 billion with China. A weak Russia means a strong China who will also cash in on reconstruction contracts in Ukraine.