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Istanbul: Export of important goods increases 50-fold

Photo: Erdem Sahin / EPA

According to the Ifo Institute, Russia circumvents sanctions on Western goods primarily through Central Asian countries and Turkey. This was shown by studies of trade data for sanctioned goods, as the Munich researchers announced on Wednesday. The focus was on goods that the Russian economy urgently needs, not least for its war industry - vehicles, ball and roller bearings. "Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey exported 50 times more goods to Russia that are critical for the Russian economy or important for the military industry in 2022 than they exported general goods to all destination countries in 2019," said the deputy head of the Ifo Center for Foreign Trade, Feodora Teti. "This indicates with a very high probability that sanctions are being circumvented."

Since March 2022 - the first month after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine - eight percent of all Russian imports of goods used to build weapons systems or for military development have come from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Of the goods that are critical for the Russian economy, three percent of all imports to Russia come from the CIS countries.

"China is still the most important trading partner for Russia," said Teti. 51 percent of the goods that are important for the Russian economy or military industry come from the People's Republic. "However, circumvention of sanctions via China appears to be less widespread," said Teti. The sharp increase in the Chinese share of imports to Russia can be at least partially explained by increased domestic production in the People's Republic.

In view of the sanctions, Russia is becoming less and less important for the German economy. Exports of goods there fell by 38.8 percent to 8.9 billion euros last year. German imports from Russia even fell by 90.0 percent to 3.7 billion euros.