RUSI NewsbriefVOLUME 39ISSUE 2members only

Feet of Clay: Can Megaprojects Distract the Russian People from Sanctions?


Main Image Credit The Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait, 1 October 2018. The bridge links Crimea to the Russian mainland, allowing Russia to establish tighter and more effective control over the annexed territory. At a cost of $3.7 billion, the megaproject also has so


Five years on from their initial introduction, international sanctions on Russia have done little to alter the country’s behaviour on the international scene or domestically. As the sanctions continue to restrict foreign investment in Russia’s infrastructure, authorities are keen to promote the idea of megaprojects – large but often symbolic constructions – as a distraction from Russia’s economic constraints. However, in the long term this strategy may prove short-sighted, as it diverts government funds away from necessary social welfare projects that may increase public dissatisfaction in the coming years.

Western sanctions introduced in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent military intervention in Eastern Ukraine have been in place since March 2014. As the fifth anniversary of the sanctions approaches, much press coverage has focused on the effectiveness of these measures, or how sanctions could prompt Russia to alter its behaviour. However, a look at the Russian authorities’ domestic response to sanctions offers some insight into the government’s approach

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WRITTEN BY

Emily Ferris

Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia

International Security Studies

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