These are unusually subdued words for the Russian warmonger: Vladimir Putin told the Interfax agency on Monday that his country was facing “a colossal amount of difficulties” in view of the sanctions imposed by the West. Behind this is a clear calculation by the Kremlin.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has described the Western sanctions as a major challenge for his country – but remains optimistic. “It is clear that this is a big challenge for our country, but not only will we not give up,” Putin said on Monday, according to the Interfax agency. “Of course not, on the contrary: while acknowledging the colossal amount of difficulties that face us, we will intensively and competently search for new solutions.” It is not possible to isolate Russia from the rest of the world with a “huge fence”. .

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Putin’s choice of words is unusual in that Moscow repeatedly emphasizes that it is surviving the far-reaching punitive measures that the West imposed in response to the war of aggression against Ukraine – and is even emerging from them stronger. But it is also a fact that the sanctions are already hitting Russia hard. Above all, Russian aviation and the country’s auto industry are suffering.

FOCUS Online Russia expert Gerhard Mangott now predicts: “The effect of the western sanctions on the Russian economy and the financial sector will increase more and more in the second half of the year. All of this, of course, in front of the population.”

Putin therefore does not want to continue to downplay the western sanctions – because he cannot do it anyway, Mangott continued. “He defines it as a national problem. But it also signals to the population that the leadership is aware of the serious situation and is looking for solutions – and will eventually find them. That is the message.”

Gerhard Mangott is a professor of political science with a special focus on international relations and security in the post-Soviet space. He teaches at the Institute for Political Science in Innsbruck and is a lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna