“As Lavrov said <...> Moscow understands that membership in the EU and NATO imposes on Budapest well-known obligations regarding participation in multilateral sanctions regimes against third countries, even in cases where this is contrary to the national interests of Hungary. According to him, Russia believes that in the 21st century there should be no place for such manifestations of coercion towards “bloc solidarity”.
“Moreover, sanctions are an unsuitable instrument of politics, and in relation to Russia, they are futile. <...> It is important that the EU sanctions hurt the ‘Young Europeans’, and the ‘Eurogrands’ even manage to benefit from the current situation, ”the Russian Foreign Minister said.
Lavrov complains that the volume of foreign trade between the EU and Russia after the imposition of sanctions fell from $ 417.7 billion in 2013 to $ 192.2 in 2020. But let’s see how this affected the same Hungary.
According to the TrendEconomy portal, the total volume of exports from Hungary in 2015 decreased quite noticeably, but after that it began to grow and by 2017 it had completely won back the decline. We observe approximately the same picture in other EU countries that were former members of the Eastern bloc.
The situation in Lithuania is especially interesting because it is the only EU country for which Russia is the largest buyer of export goods. But here we see the same trends – with the difference that the drop in exports was won back not by 2017, but by 2018.
Now let us compare this picture with Western countries (“Eurogrands”), which, according to Lavrov, benefited from the sanctions.
As you can see, everywhere the same failure in 2015-2016, followed by growth and the beginning of a new recession in 2019.
But is this related to the sanctions against Russia? Here is the data for several countries that did not impose sectoral sanctions.
Here again, the decline in 2015 is still the same, although in Switzerland and Serbia it is much less pronounced. So Lavrov’s statement that the sanctions hit the countries of Eastern and Central Europe especially hard is clearly at odds with the statistics.
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