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Opinion
Tim Culpan and Tae Kim

Tech Sanctions Won’t Sting Russia for a While

Restricting computing equipment sends Moscow an important message. But businesses likely will find ways around the rules.

Russia’s supplies of computing equipment should last for quite a while.

Russia’s supplies of computing equipment should last for quite a while.

Photographer: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

A decision to cut off the flow of technology goods and services to Russia, among a raft of restrictions set in motion in response to the invasion of Ukraine, might not amount to much. It will take time before the moves have any impact, and there are ways to circumvent the sanctions’ effects. Yet the new rules serve as a reminder to Moscow that it will struggle over time to operate a healthy economy without access to state-of-the-art products.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced that the U.S. and its partners would impose measures that would inflict “severe and immediate economic costs on Russia.” In addition to blocking access to financial services, the U.S. will restrict exports to Russia of a range of technology products including semiconductors, encryption software, lasers and aviation equipment. The ban extends to sensitive technologies produced in foreign countries using software or other equipment developed in the U.S.