We must help apply economic pressure on Russia as individuals: PM

In the Easter episode of his podcast, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, talked, among others, of sanctions, saying that war affects all of us, and so we all must join in an effort to stop it.

The Polish PM addressed the issue of disenchantment some people may feel in connection to the economic sanctions. Although individual countries as well as international organisations are heaping packages of sanctions upon packages of sanctions against Russia every week as the country’s aggression against Ukraine continues, the war still goes on and some people may feel that the sanctions are not effective enough.

But Mr. Morawiecki said that individual consumers may contribute to the economic pressure on Russia through their own, individual choices. As he said, every consumer can apply a small pressure on the Russian economy by refusing to buy Russian products, but also by refusing to buy products from international companies who continue to operate in Russia.

PM Morawiecki said that everybody must participate in the effort, because the war affects everybody “on a mental lever, or through successive shocking reports reaching us from across our eastern border, or through our Ukrainian friends.” He also said that the war increased the problem of inflation, which has soared to record heights, affecting many countries, but especially Poland, which had particularly close economic ties with the East. Because of the war’s effect on the economy, some even begin to dub the phenomenon “Putinflation”.

Russian products "steeped in blood"

Apart from boycotting Russian products, which in the words of the Polish Prime Minister are “steeped in blood”, there are other economic measures that can be taken. Many people have almost immediately and instinctively begun to boycott goods from Russia, prompting retailers to take them off the shelves. But he added that many international companies continue to do business in Russia, and they need to be boycotted too, urging his listeners to look up a list of enterprises that continue to operate there on the Internet.

Mr. Morawiecki also addressed other forms of sanctions that have been applied on Russia, specifically mentioning the boycott of Russian sports teams and athletes. In his words, the “Russian sport has for years been one massive doping laboratory, brazenly ruining the notion of fair play,” and added that individual athletes have also supported the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, calling such support “a monstrosity”. Russian oligarchs, which always operate with the Kremlin's blessing, have also bought many western sports clubs, and the oligarchs have used their money to corrupt sporting bodies and associations.

PM Morawiecki has also noted that the understandable resentment of all things Russian has also affected culture. But he said that does mean people should start throwing away books by Russian authors. Instead, people should begin to notice that Russian culture has often served, and continues to serve as a tool of Russia’s imperialist policies, and often has done so against such countries as Poland.

Wishes of hope and strength

Finally, Prime Minister Morawiecki made reference to the current Easter holiday season. He said that in spite of the harsh and shocking reality of the current situation, people need to overcome their feeling of powerlessness that they may experience:

“We should have faith, that the hope that is associated with the meaning of Easter and with the season of spring is strong, and will be stronger than the evil currently raging in Ukraine.”

In that spirit, he wished everyone to find hope and strength in the season, and he particularly thanked those who have accepted refugees into their homes, as well as members of uniformed services who are working to ensure the safety of Poland and its citizens.