Last March, Russia annexed Crimea after discontent, riots, and a revolution in Ukraine. Unrest in eastern Ukraine and a supposed divide between the east and west in Ukraine- each who wanted different political allies- led to a vote that seemed to overwhelmingly show support in the Crimean peninsula for rejoining Russia. This event was looked down upon by most world powers, who saw it as an illegal seizing of the territory and a rigged vote. Following the Crimean crisis, economic sanctions were imposed on the Russian Federation by the western powers.
Recently, a year after the sanctions were imposed, the Russian premier (prime minister) Dmitri A. Medvedev estimated that after the sanctions and economic pressure were in place, Russia lost approximately $26.8 billion. But, he also commented that it was worth it, and the money lost is the “price we have to pay for our position.” All sectors of the Russian economy have been affected in some way, and the losses for Russia will continue to mount in the coming years. However, the position taken by the Russian government demonstrates the attitude that the “restoration of historical justice” is more important than the disturbances to the Russian economy.
This attitude of righting the historical wrongs speaks to a deep divide between Russia and the rest of the world. Russia sees its current position in the world as behind where it used to be and therefore unacceptable: the Russian Federation means to continue to gain world power and return to its former superpower status. They do this at the expense of making allies and at the expense of, in this case, their economy. However, in their view of what is “supposed to be,” they are simply doing what is right to correct the wrongs.