Home Views Russia-Ukraine crisis

Economic weapons of mass destruction

Raghuram G. Rajan
Raghuram G. Rajan3/24/2022 12:12 PM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Economic weapons of mass destruction
Russia's state-owned gas player Gazprom is among those hit by economic sanctions. Photo: Bloomberg
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War is horrific, no matter how it is waged. Nevertheless, Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine — with its scenes of Ukrainian civilians being murdered or driven from their homes — undoubtedly had to be opposed. In addition to supplying Ukraine with military weapons, governments around the world have deployed economic weapons against Russia.

While Russia, an economic midget relative to its military power, may still lash out by expanding the range of military weapons it uses and the territories it targets, it is a risk the world has to take.

Compared to Russia’s indiscriminate bombing, economic weapons will not kill people as quickly, create as much visible destruction or inspire as much fear. Nonetheless, the unprecedented economic weapons that have been deployed against Russia will be unquestionably painful.

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