Targeted export controls on sensitive technology have proved especially effective by limiting Russia’s ability to replenish precision weaponry. Over time, this disruption of sophisticated technology components, including first and foremost chips that Russia cannot make, will weaken Moscow’s military capabilities.
Now the democratic world must impose additional import restrictions on technologies such as aircraft parts, sonar systems, antennas, spectrophotometers, test equipment, GPS systems, vacuum pumps and oil-field equipment. Russia should be completely unable to obtain any high-tech imports, as ultimately most technology is dual-use. Any technology that helps the Russian economy also helps Putin kill more Ukrainians.
Over the long run, the exodus of tens of thousands of Russian high-tech workers triggered by Putin’s war also will further diminish Russia’s military industrial base. Moving forward, the West should do more to facilitate a massive Russian brain drain. Democratic countries should make it easier to accept Russian immigrants with technological expertise through a variety of residency and economic incentives. Europe and the United States must also make it easier for political and media opponents to Putin’s regime to immigrate, to help further divide Putin from the Russian people.
Sanctions also have interrupted foreign direct investment, causing food, drug and material shortages. Impressively, roughly a thousand foreign companies have exited Russia; most will never come back. This doesn’t just affect the range of available goods and services; it will also diminish technology transfer and innovation in a wide range of industries throughout Russia, especially in the energy sector.
But more should be done. Democratic governments must put more pressure on their companies that have not left Russia yet. Foreign enterprises helping Putin’s war machine, even through the simple act of paying taxes, should face sanctions, too. The international community also should compel countries such as Turkey, Georgia and Kazakhstan — which are currently helping to bypass existing sanctions — to halt ongoing smuggling operations.
Sanctions on Russian individuals have produced real and lasting results. The lengths to which Russian oligarchs have gone to circumvent or get off the sanctions list suggest that sanctions are working.
Garry Kasparov is chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative and the Human Rights Foundation. Michael McFaul is director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, a Hoover fellow at Stanford University and a contributing columnist to The Post.