Russian pensioners devastated by sanctions as food and medicines run dry over Putin's war


Putin invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked military campaign by land, sea and air on February 24. The ensuing war has seen hundreds of Ukrainian civilians killed and swathes of major cities levelled to the ground by Russian attacks. As the Russian invasion began last month, countries across the globe ramped up economic sanctions against Moscow. The financial punishments have seen the value of the rouble nosedive, while inflation has soared, and many Russians have been left unemployed.

Some staple items like sugar and cooking oil that are imported from abroad are becoming harder to buy in Russia.

There are also reports of shops in the country imposing limits on what customers can buy in response to people stockpiling certain items.

Meanwhile, crucial medical supplies like blood pressure medication – which are not subject to sanctions – are also running out due to Russia’s disrupted maritime trade.

On top of the sanctions and disrupted trade, major global brands like Apple and McDonald’s have also ceased trading in Russia in protest at the invasion of Ukraine.

As the quality of life for the Russian public continues to worsen, an expert on the country has laid bare how pensioners are feeling the pinch the hardest as food and medicine supplies dwindle.

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Professor Nikolai Petrov, a senior research fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, spoke to

The expert, whose research includes Kremlin decision-making, was asked about the impact of the sanctions on the Russian public.

He said: “Well, they are horrible. They are almost immediately felt by ordinary Russians.

“They are horrible, especially for the less protected and poor parts of Russian society like pensioners.

“Due to higher prices, a lack of food and, first of all, due to the lack of medicines.

Food prices also rose a staggering 10.4 percent from February 26 to March 4, according to the Kommersant newspaper.

Last week, the UK banned the export of high-end luxury goods to Russia and slapped import tariffs on hundreds of products.

The EU also banned a raft of agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from being imported into Russia for a year.

For Professor Petrov, the consequences of the sanctions are more far-reaching than just impacting ordinary Russians.

The expert claimed that with Russia cut off from global trade, elite business figures are growing increasingly agitated with the Kremlin.

He said: “I think that the weakening of Russia and the Russian economy, which is already going on, will lead to very essential changes in the balance between different elite groups.

“These can cause tensions – not the idea that they should sacrifice Putin in order to improve relations with the West.

“But the intensifying fight between different elite groups and elite clans for their survival.”


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