President Vladimir Putin says no Iron Curtain will fall over Russia's economy despite the West’s sanctions over his military operation in Ukraine because his country will not detach itself from the world like the Soviet Union did.
The war in Ukraine began when Putin ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. Since then, the United States and its Western allies have imposed waves of harsh sanctions against Moscow, plus pouring continuing batches of advanced weapons into the ex-Soviet country.
Russia has time and again warned that the West’s sanctions and weapons will not force Moscow to end the operation before achieving its objectives, warning that the punitive measures and flow of arms only prolong the war.
The West claims that the sanctions have tipped Russia, one of the world’s biggest producers of natural resources, toward the biggest economic contraction since the years following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
On Thursday, the Russian president, speaking ahead next week’s St Petersburg Economic Forum, stressed that Russia’s economy would remain open despite the continuing sanctions.
“We will not have a closed economy, we have not had one and we will not have one,” Putin told young entrepreneurs in a televised meeting.
“We did not have a closed economy - or rather we did in the Soviet times when we cut ourselves off, created the so-called Iron Curtain, we created it with our own hands. We will not make the same mistake again - our economy will be open,” the Russian president added.
Iron Curtain refers to the political, military, and ideological barrier that was built by the Soviet Union following the conclusion of the Second World War in an attempt to fully detach itself and its dependent allies in eastern and central Europe from open contact with the West and other non-communist regions.
In the wake of the departure of major American and European companies and investors from Russia, Moscow said it would turn away from the West and focus on developing its own domestic industry and develop partnerships with China, India and powers in the Middle East.
“A country like Russia cannot be fenced in,” Putin stressed.
The Russian president has warned that the US-led West wants to destroy Russia, saying the economic sanctions are akin to a declaration of economic war.