by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:
As expected, the effects of the lightweight sanctions that have been placed on Russia by the US and EU so far have been mostly negligible. Reports of a slowdown in the Russian economy or a drop in the stock market are lacking context: Russian growth was already anemic before the Ukrainian crisis developed, on track for the worst performance since the 2009 recession on the back of a consumer slowdown and sagging investment.
Any effects from the scattershot sanctions imposed on a few officials so far pale in comparison.
Even one of the unexpected and potentially damaging spin-offs of the sanctions—MasterCard and Visa stopping processing for embargoed Bank Rossiya, Sobinbank, and SMP Bank—turns out not to be a huge deal. Moscow has been preparing its own homegrown electronic system for processing transactions with the government for years, and now that infrastructure can simply be converted to creating an in-country credit card system at the drop of a hat.
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