The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than eight months ago has killed tens of thousands of civilians, knocked out the country’s power grid, displaced millions and sent food and fuel prices skyrocketing.

But a small group of people found financial and geopolitical advantage in the ashes of massacres, sanctions and economic dislocation.

Beneficiaries are often not responsible for the violence; their gains are tied to geography, energy exports, or a unique diplomatic affiliation.

For others, the Russian attack was a chance to restore their political influence and actively reap economic benefits. As the war helped drive oil and natural gas prices to record highs, countries and companies in the energy sector were arguably among the biggest beneficiaries.

“Economies dependent on oil imports will see larger fiscal and trade deficits and increased inflationary pressures,” he said. Economists of the International Monetary Fund It noted earlier this year, “although some exporters such as the Middle East and Africa may benefit from higher prices.”

From Dubai’s marinas to Ankara’s diplomatic corridors and Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, these are the beneficiaries as the war drags on into winter and the death toll rises.

WATCH | Moscow says Russian troops have withdrawn from Kherson:

Moscow says Russian troops have withdrawn from Kherson

As the war in Ukraine continues, the Kremlin says that all its equipment and troops have been withdrawn from Kherson. In addition to Ukraine’s criticism of Russian troops, the retreat is partly due to Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko saying, “Russia has lost this war.”

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, with its luxury hotels, marinas and desert golf courses, has seen a surge in Russian tourism and investment since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Oligarchs who once moored their yachts on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, partied at British nightclubs or bought tens of millions of dollars in homes in what critics call “Londongrad” have moved to the United Arab Emirates, which analysts and real estate brokers say faces Western sanctions.

Russians were the top buyers of property in Dubai, the top of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, according to a report released last month by property consultancy Betterhomes.

The 88-meter-long superyacht Nirvana, valued at approximately $300 million, docks at the Port Rashid terminal in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in June. The yacht is owned by Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, who runs the world’s largest producer of refined nickel and palladium. He joins a growing list of those who have moved or floated their valuable assets to Dubai in the face of Western sanctions. (Kamran Jabreili/Associated Press)

“Global conflicts,” says the Betterhomes Report, “put Russians at the top of our rankings as the number one non-resident buyer in Dubai.”

With half of the city’s apartments dealing in all-cash transactions, Dubai offers the perfect laundering opportunity for wealthy buyers unable to access traditional banks due to Western sanctions, according to the consultancy.

While European and American airlines have suspended flights to Russia, Emirates, one of the main carriers of the United Arab Emirates, continues to operate 17 flights a week between Moscow and Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates, a major oil producer, also benefited from high energy prices due to the war. The financial system, seen by Western critics as a hub for money laundering, has allowed wealthy Russians to evade EU and US sanctions.

The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia's war in Ukraine
Guests dance at a private party on a boat overlooking the Dubai skyline at Marina Waterfront, 2015. Dubai’s year-round sunshine gives it a summery feel during the winter months. On weekends, party boats ferry Russian and Western expats up and down the canal. (Kamran Jabreili/Associated Press)


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has positioned himself as a mediator between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and former NATO allies in the West, and reaped economic benefits from the process.

Turkey refused to impose sanctions on Russia to other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Instead, Ankara helped broker deals with Moscow to allow Ukraine to export its grain, potentially easing an ongoing food crisis for the world’s poorest.

Four million Russians vacationed in Turkey, a popular beach and sun spot for a long time, in the first nine months of this year. quoted data by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – and this trend will intensify as Russian tourists lose access to European destinations.

The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia's war in Ukraine
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Putin on October 13 in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana within the framework of the Asian Cooperation and Trust Measures Conference. Turkey refused to join other NATO members that imposed sanctions on Russia during the war and became a conduit for Russian trade. (Vyacheslav Prokofiev/Kremlin Pool Photo/Associated Press)

As Moscow is cut off from its traditional suppliers in Europe, Turkey has also become an export and import channel for Russian trade.

On November 8, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace analyst Alexandra Prokopenko noted that “in the first nine months of this year, the trade turnover between Russia and Turkey doubled compared to the previous year and reached 47 billion dollars.”

“Turkey can become one of the first three trade partners of Russia.”

While Sweden and Finland are trying to join NATO in the face of Russia’s aggression, Turkey used its veto right on new members joining the security alliance and demanded Stockholm and Helsinki to take strict measures against Kurdish militants operating from areas that Ankara considers a security threat. .

The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia's war in Ukraine
The cargo ship Razoni passes through the Bosphorus in Istanbul in August. It was the first cargo ship to leave Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February. (Khalil Hamra/Associated Press)


The war in Ukraine has helped Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro restore ties with old enemies.

U.S. officials, considered an unelected usurper by Ottawa and Washington, who went so far as to recognize a rival politician as Venezuela’s rightful ruler, now appear intent on bringing Caracas back into their ranks.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Venezuela controls the world’s largest oil reserves, and US energy companies and politicians are eager to restore its production to help lower global prices.

Caracas and Washington recently negotiated a high-profile prisoner swap, freeing seven Americans and two nephews of Maduro’s wife from US prisons on drug-trafficking charges.

The two sides have discussed sanctions relief and future ties as US oil companies, particularly Chevron, are eager to use more Venezuelan crude.

The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia's war in Ukraine
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, left, and his wife Cilia Flores take part in a Youth Day march in Caracas in February. Venezuela controls the world’s largest oil reserves, and US energy companies and politicians are eager to restore its production to help lower global prices. (Mathias Delacroix/Associated Press)

Saudi Arabia

In the 2020 election campaign, Joe Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) an “enemy” after he was dismembered in an assassination attempt on journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated on the young king’s orders. i saw

That tough talk, however, didn’t stop the US president from flying to Riyadh in July to pounce on MBS to ask him to increase oil production ahead of this month’s midterm elections.

Saudi Arabia, exercising its gasoline muscles, did the opposite. It prompted OPEC+, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, to cut production in October, according to US officials, leading to higher prices and a rapidly escalating financial crisis for the kingdom.

The unlikely geopolitical winners of Russia's war in Ukraine
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, gives a thumbs-up to US President Joe Biden in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in July. During the 2020 election campaign, Biden promised to “take out” MBS, but high oil prices linked to the war in Ukraine have increased Saudi Arabia’s political influence. (Saudi Press Agency/Associated Press)

Compared to what would have been expected had Russia not invaded Ukraine, according to data released by the International Monetary Fund in August.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine, coupled with inflation in the country, has led to a sharp increase in energy prices, thus renewing attention on Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s major oil producers and the only country with significant potential. to rapidly increase production. ,” he noted Report of the Council on Foreign RelationsA US-based think tank.

Analysts say that Saudi Arabia has maintained cordial relations with Russia throughout the war in Ukraine.

High oil prices due to the war, as well as a poor human rights record and contribution to climate change, have allowed Washington to increase pressure to take the kingdom seriously.

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