Bearing the Brunt: The Impact of the Sanctions on Russia’s Economy and Lessons for the Use of Sanctions on China

A new report by the CSIS Economics Program assesses the effects and effectiveness of the international sanctions and export controls aimed at Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It is the first of three reports exploring the feasibility and implications of the United States using economic measures to deter China in a crisis over Taiwan. Subsequent reports will analyze the economic interdependencies and vulnerabilities of the Chinese and U.S. economies and evaluate how economic measures might be deployed during various Taiwan contingencies.

This report finds that while the economic measures are harming the Russian economy, they have done less damage than many predicted—in part because of Russia’s continued energy exports—and are unlikely to deliver a knockout blow. Western policymakers’ goals have evolved from deterring Russia, to trying to destabilize its financial sector, to degrading its ability to sustain its war effort. The report finds that enacting comparable sanctions and export controls on China would be far more difficult and disruptive to the global economy. The report concludes by offering 10 major lessons with implications for potential sanctions or export controls against China in a potential crisis over Taiwan.

This report is made possible by generous funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Gerard DiPippo

Gerard DiPippo

Former Senior Fellow, Economics Program