Russian ex-president and deputy head of the security council Dmitry Medvedev was cited on Friday as stating that it is “foolish” to expect that Western sanctions against Russian enterprises will have any impact on the Moscow government.
In an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, Medvedev stated that the sanctions will only strengthen Russian society rather than provoke public anger with the authorities.
Following its invasion of Ukraine, the West put a slew of sanctions on Russia, but one month into the conflict, the Kremlin insists it would press on until it achieves its goals of “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine.
Some of the penalties were aimed at billionaire businessmen who are thought to be connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Let us ask ourselves: can any of these powerful businessmen have even a smidgeon of influence over the country’s leadership?” Medvedev stated the following.
“I’ll tell you straight up: no way.”
Medvedev stated that Russia has the right to deploy nuclear weapons on numerous grounds, including an attack on the country or encroachment on infrastructure that would paralyze Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces.
That highlighted Russia’s “will to safeguard our country’s independence and sovereignty, not to give anyone the smallest cause to doubt in the least that we are ready to respond appropriately to any infringement on our country’s independence,” he said.
Negotiations, he noted, are Moscow’s preferred course of action, especially in the most difficult situations, such as those surrounding Ukraine.
According to Medvedev, polls suggest that three-quarters of Russians support the Kremlin’s decision to launch a military action in Ukraine, with even more backing for President Vladimir Putin.
While downplaying the sanctions’ economic impact, Medvedev stated that the Russian government will have to come up with “sufficient measures” on its own to promote the development of the aircraft, automotive, and information technology industries, among others.
“Tackling those difficulties will be more difficult now, but on the other hand, we cannot rely on anyone,” Medvedev added. “In this scenario, we’ll have to deal with those issues on our own.”
He slammed Russians who spoke out against the invasion while living outside the country.
“It’s normal to be unsatisfied with some of the authorities’ decisions and to criticize the authorities,” he stated.
“However, in such a tough situation, you cannot take a stand against the state because this is treason.”
According to an independent protest monitoring group, tens of thousands of people were jailed earlier this month during Russia-wide protests against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.