Western sanctions will not affect the Kremlin, says Russia’s former President Medvedev

FILE PHOTO: Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Medvedev gives an interview outside Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview at the Gorky state residence outside Moscow, Russia January 25, 2022. Picture taken January 25, 2022. Sputnik/Yulia Zyryanova/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

March 26, 2022

(Reuters) – It is “foolish” to think that Western sanctions against Russian companies could have an impact on the Moscow government, Russia’s ex-president and deputy head of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, was quoted as saying on Friday.

The sanctions would only consolidate Russian society and not arouse popular resentment with the authorities, Medvedev told the Russian news agency RIA in an interview.

The West imposed a series of sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, but a month into the war the Kremlin says it will continue the attack until it achieves its goals of “demilitarizing and denazifying” Ukraine.

Some of the sanctions are specifically targeting billionaire businessmen believed to be close to President Vladimir Putin.

“Let’s ask ourselves: can any of these big businessmen have even the slightest impact on the position of the country’s leadership?” Medvedev said.

“I’ll tell you frankly: no, absolutely not.”

Medvedev said opinion polls showed that three quarters of Russians supported the Kremlin’s decision to conduct a military operation in Ukraine, and even more backed President Vladimir Putin.

While downplaying the economic impact of sanctions, Medvedev said the Russian government must find “reasonable solutions” on its own to boost the development of the aircraft, automobile and IT industries, among others.

“Now it is becoming more difficult to address these issues, but on the other hand, we have no one to rely on,” Medvedev said. “In that case, we have to solve these problems ourselves.”

He lashed out at the Russians, who opposed the invasion while outside Russia.

“You may be dissatisfied with some decisions made by authorities, criticizing authorities – that’s normal,” he said.

“But you can’t go against the state in such a difficult situation, because that’s treason.”

Thousands of people were arrested earlier this month during Russia-wide protests against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to an independent protest monitoring group.

(Reported by Reuters; Edited by Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast) Western sanctions will not affect the Kremlin, says Russia’s former President Medvedev

Bobby Allyn

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