Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.


Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said on March 9, 2022, that "the U.S., undoubtedly, declared an economic war against Russia and they are waging this war." (Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

Moscow Accuses US of Waging 'Economic War' Against Russia

"Blanket sanctions against the Russian economy are having an effect," notes Robert Reich. "But the burden has fallen mostly on ordinary Russians, many of whom have already suffered from Putin's brutal regime."

Jessica Corbett

Amid concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin's deadly invasion of Ukraine could lead to a wider war, the Kremlin on Wednesday accused the United States government of waging economic warfare.

"We should remind ourselves that Putin is not synonymous with the Russian people."

"The U.S., undoubtedly, declared an economic war against Russia and they are waging this war. Yes, de facto this is exactly what it is," said Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson.

Peskov's remarks came in response to U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland's testimony at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

"I think his interior mind is now out there and for everybody to see," Nuland said of Putin. "So that's what makes me worried that not only do we have to ensure that this Ukraine gambit is a strategic failure for Putin for Ukraine's sake, but also for all of the other countries in the region, and his appetite has only grown with the eating. So you know, we can't allow this to stand."

Reuters reports that when asked about U.S. President Joe Biden's ban on Russian oil and energy imports, Peskov said that "the situation demands a rather deep analysis" but "if you are asking me what Russia is going to do—Russia is going to do what is necessary to defend its interests."

Peskov's comments came after Putin said over the weekend that Western sanctions imposed in response to the invasion "are akin to declaring war." The statement sparked alarm given his thinly veiled threat about nuclear weapons when he announced the invasion of Ukraine late last month.

Despite the Kremlin's crackdown on critical reporting about the Russian military's assault of Ukraine, anti-war protesters have taken to the streets across Russia, resulting in thousands of arrests over the past two weeks.

NPR reported last week that "everyday Russians are feeling the impact" of sanctions, including store closures, suspended container shipping, lack of support for airlines, the falling value of the ruble, rising interest rates, price hikes, and concerns about being paid by foreign employers.

Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary and a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, argued Wednesday that "we should use whatever means are at our disposal to make Vladimir Putin end the brutal war he started. But it is proving difficult to use sanctions on specific oligarchs to get Putin to stop."

In his an opinion piece for The Guardian, Reich wrote:

Perhaps we should be more ambitious. My Berkeley colleague Gabriel Zucman recommends that the U.S. and the European Union freeze all offshore holdings of Russian nationals in excess of $10 million. This would affect about 10,000 to 20,000 Russians who have benefited the most from Putin's rule.

Meanwhile, blanket sanctions against the Russian economy are having an effect. Over the past week they have caused the ruble to collapse and decimated Russian markets.

But the burden has fallen mostly on ordinary Russians, many of whom have already suffered from Putin's brutal regime.

"As we've seen in North Korea and Iran, dictatorships don't depend on popular approval. In fact, widespread hardship can lead to even more repression and violence," Reich added. "We should remind ourselves that Putin is not synonymous with the Russian people."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

Common Dreams staff ·

'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·

Raging Wars, Soaring Hunger Put Women and Girls in Crosshairs, Warns UN

"A toxic mix of crises—conflicts, climate, skyrocketing costs, and the ripple effects of the Ukraine war—are inflicting a devastating toll on the forcibly displaced. This is being felt across the world, but women and girls are particularly suffering."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo