Western economic sanctions against Russia for its war in Ukraine have not achieved the expected results yet, as Russia continues to find ways to evade restrictions and import microprocessors, printed circuit boards, and other electronic and radio technical components.
Advanced technology that Moscow cannot produce at home is essential for Russia’s ability to sustain its weapon production capabilities. This is critical since the FPV attack drones that Russia has begun to mass-produce require foreign “dual-use components.”
Some nations are assisting Russia, especially China, which is the country’s main economic partner in this sector, according to media reports. It “exchanges” electronics and their components for Russian energy resources.
China’s electronics shipment volume to Russia
China provides all of Russia’s electronic needs by bypassing sanctions, either directly or via middlemen such as Central Asian nations or the United Arab Emirates. Mobile gadgets account for about one-third of Chinese exports to Russia.
It is important to note that since 2022, Russian imports from the world have decreased by about 38,8% because of the implemented sanctions. However, China kept its exports of electronics to Russia nearly at the pre-war level, while many countries stopped doing so, and Moscow’s imports dropped, according to the trademap.org data.
China is the world’s top supplier of electronics. China’s electronics exports surpassed the combined exports of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, reaching about a trillion dollars and exceeding the amount exported by the United States by five times.
Western countries have considerably restricted their shipments to Russia, while China has boosted them, with Hong Kong accounting for a portion of exports. However, Western firms’ policy of shifting production to China has harmed these nations.
Although Russia’s total imports from China have fallen, their percentage share has increased. China held about 60% of the Russian electronics market in 2022. China accounted for over $13 billion of electronic exports to Russia in 2022, when Putin’s war was already going on. The data for 2023 will come soon…
Notice that since Chinese products also passed through Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations, the value became much higher.
Pressure on China can lead to the collapse of the Russian economy collapse
China’s electronics exports to Russia are over three times lower than those to Germany, three and a half times lower than those to the Netherlands, and 10 times lower than those to the US.
Russia has just a tiny percentage of the world electronics market—around only 1%—which is incredibly little even for the Chinese electronics market, and it also contributes to about 1% of Chinese exports.
However, the democratic world has the power to affect China. Many companies formed by Western investors continue to manufacture Chinese electronics. Identifying Chinese firms with Western, Japanese or Taiwanese founders would be the first step in persuading the owners to end the evasion of sanctions.
These reasons support the idea that Beijing, not Brussels, Washington, or even Moscow, holds the keys to peace in Ukraine. After all, as soon as China withdraws its assistance to Russia, Moscow’s economy will begin to collapse.
If China ceases to supply electronics to Moscow, Russia will regress to its post-Soviet level in the industry. Furthermore, the Russian military industry will suffer the greatest impact and will not be able to pursue its war in Ukraine anymore.