​Seeds of Strategy: Russia's Agricultural Exports in the Wake of Western Sanctions

​Seeds of Strategy: Russia's Agricultural Exports in the Wake of Western Sanctions

Posted by Emma on 10th Nov 2023

In a recent dialogue in Kazakhstan, Russian leader Vladimir Putin emphasised the importance of enhancing transport routes for wheat and fertilisers within Asia. This strategic move comes as Russia looks to cultivate new trade avenues in response to Western sanctions.

Putin-Tokayev (2022-02-10) 01 Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During a summit on agricultural collaboration with Kazakh President Tokayev, Putin highlighted Russia's projection of exporting roughly 60 million metric tons of wheat, thanks to an exceptional harvest this year. "We are confident, certainly, that we will retain the No.1 spot globally in terms of exports of this important commodity, wheat," affirmed Putin.

The focus was on advancing shipping routes catering to significant Asian markets such as China and India. Despite the Western sanctions challenging Russian exporters in shipping and financial transactions, these sanctions do not directly impact such commodities.

There are whispers of Moscow urging exporters to set a minimum wheat export price to safeguard farmers' earnings, although the specifics of this informal arrangement remain somewhat ambiguous.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is positioning itself as a pivotal logistics centre for Russian commodities en route to China and Iran. The nation already boasts a railway link connecting Russia with China and a route to Iran skirting the Caspian Sea.

Putin's visit, his third known international engagement since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of war crimes - a claim Russia vehemently denies - comes at a time of global scrutiny. Kazakhstan, not a member of the ICC, has managed a balanced stance amidst the tensions between Russia and the West, recently welcoming leaders from both realms.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this development. Are new Asian trade routes the future for Russian exports? Drop a comment below and join the conversation.