Economist on sanctions: Belarus and Russia did better than expected

MINSK, 14 April (BelTA) — The economies of Belarus and Russia coped with the sanctions better than expected, well-known Russian economist Alexander Auzan told the media after a meeting with Belarusian experts in Minsk on 14 April, BelTA has learned.

“In spite of bad expectations the year 2022 turned out to be better than we expected in March when this tragic story in Ukraine began. Economists predicted a significant downturn under the pressure of sanctions, but the economies did well. This was also thanks to the work of central banks and governments. But the main burden of the U-turn was taken on by enterprises, by business. What Russia learned was that the market economy was working. This was not obvious before this hard test,” Alexander Auzan said.

He believes, however, that it is too early to tally the results. There will be new difficulties. The main danger of sanctions is not exports-imports and the assortment, but access to high technology. “What is next is unclear. Will we be able to produce analogues or will we have to hunt for elements of these high technologies using layers of mediators? How many years will this story go on. How will it manifest itself? It is still unpredictable,” the economist added.

Alexander Auzan expressed his opinion about joint work in the microelectronics industry. “Belarus and Russia have no other choice but to collaborate. We need workable, relatively fast microchips. I think we will definitely produce them. Maybe they will not be the best in terms of global competitiveness. They will almost certainly be expensive and not very economical. But they will keep critical systems running. We can do it. We will see how successful we will be,” Alexander Auzan said.

Regarding the widely discussed pivot to the East, the well-known economist outlined the approximate timeframe of the process – some five or seven years. «We need to build new pipelines and hubs. To the east, to the south… There are big investments ahead. We need to look for a way for business to invest in the infrastructure. Governments will not cope with this task on their own,» the expert said.

The scientist looks to the future with optimism. The main asset of Belarus and Russia is people. «In our countries, human potential has always been higher than the potential of many industries and institutions. We remain hopeful for high-tech development and economic results,» the expert said.

He called today’s meeting extremely interesting and useful. Communication with Belarusian experts allowed better understanding the Belarusian model of the economy. «We are similar in terms of the fundamental things that we think about. We are allies yet we are different countries. We have different cultures, different behavioral attitudes. This is good. Some problems are common, others have differences,» Alexander Auzan added.

According to him, the Belarusian model of the economy has its advantages. The country has made progress in the development of the IT sector and mechanical engineering. «We can establish such an interaction that will give very good results,» the Russian economist added.

The meeting of Belarusian experts with Alexander Auzan was organized by the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research. The participants of the event discussed the issues of improving the economic policy of states, the impact of socio-cultural aspects on it, and the transformation of the economic model.

Alexander Auzan is an outstanding Russian economist and public figure, Doctor of Economics, Professor, and a recognized expert in the field of institutional economics. He pays special attention to the study of cultural codes in the context of their impact on economic processes. Since 2013, Alexander Auzan has been working as Dean of the Faculty of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University, and also Head of the Applied Institutional Economics Chair at Lomonosov Moscow State University.


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