The unprecedented barrage of coordinated economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine is already having an impact on Russian quality of life and could ultimately undermine President Vladimir Putin politically, according to Sciences Po economics professor Sergei Guriev. He spoke to the AAPA via Zoom on March 24, 2022.

A former financial “insider” in Moscow, Guriev was Rector of Russia’s New Economic School before emigrating to France in 2013. He served as Chief Economist for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 2016 to 2019 and is currently active in several international economic organizations.

Guriev believes Putin will face a serious domestic backlash when sanctions impact his ability to pay his soldiers and local police.

Additionally, he thinks the Russian leader was surprised that the invasion of Ukraine failed to be a “quick win” (a combination of bad intelligence and insufficient military power) and is determined to use all available means to stay in power, including the use of chemical or possibly nuclear weapons.

However, GURIEV believes a negotiated settlement remains within reach, and, when asked to compare Putin to Hitler, suggested that the lessons learned from the 1930s have prepared the rest of the world to stop him.