Russian sanctions will hit some European countries much harder than others

Russian sanctions will hit some European countries much harder than others

08. 03. 2022 – Lomond

It feels inappropriate to consider the economic impact of the war in Ukraine given the humanitarian disaster unfolding there.

However, outside Ukraine, the war is being fought economically rather than militarily, and the severity of the sanctions against Russia and Belarus will have a significant impact outside those countries too. And the truth is that it will hurt some countries far more than others.

The maps below are based on World Bank data from just before the Covid pandemic, but they are an interesting illustration of which countries have the strongest trading links with Russia:

All bar seven of the countries highlighted here run a trade deficit with Russia (the exceptions are Latvia, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Iceland and Montenegro), and the only one of those countries that looks potentially exposed is Latvia, which also imports almost 7% of goods from Russia. Otherwise, the countries most dependent on Russian imports are mostly those in close proximity to Russia: Lithuania, Finland, Moldova, Turkey, Bulgaria and Estonia.

You would expect that – distance matters when it comes to international trade – but geography isn’t the only factor. Serbia, for example, trades more with Russia (proportionate to its size) than Romania, despite being further away geographically.

These maps don’t tell the full story, of course. Companies that don’t trade directly with Russia and Belarus will still be affected by increased energy, shipping and commodity costs, and may have suppliers in Ukraine, Russia and/or Belarus, but it’s still a useful indication of the countries which are likely to be hit hardest by sanctions on Russia.