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Goodbye Russian gas, hello rapid decarbonisation

By Simon Pirani, Open Democracy

The measures aimed at Russian oil and gas exports are relatively limited so far. Heavy sanctions have been imposed on many of Russia’s largest financial institutions; its access to the SWIFT payment system has been limited; and hundreds of billions of dollars, kept by Russia’s Central Bank in foreign accounts to support the ruble, have been frozen. ‘Self sanctioning’ by Western businesses also counts. Firms that have worked in Russia for decades are pulling out, including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Equinor, four of the six largest foreign companies in the oil and gas sector. Oil output has fallen. Russia’s manufacturing industry is being hammered. For example, only one of Russia’s 21 car factories is working normally, as supply chains dry up. The sanctions are likely to intensify the inequality imposed on tens of millions of Russians by the country’s kleptocratic, parasitic form of capitalism. Living standards will certainly fall. Despite this, Ilya Matveev,...