Diamonds for Putin: Russia is still earning $ 20 bn on metals and gemstones – by Bohdan Miroshnichenko and Olena Mukhina (Euromaidan Press – July 21, 2023)

Western countries are slow in imposing sanctions on metals and diamonds from Russia, despite achievements in reducing reliance on its oil and gas. While Russian exports of metals and precious gemstones to US and European markets still bring an additional $20 billion annually, concerns over economic consequences and the need for effective tracking mechanisms have delayed the implementation of restrictions.

Over the past year, European Union countries have eliminated or limited their dependence on Russian oil, petroleum products, coal, and natural gas, which have been lucrative businesses for the Kremlin, bringing it approximately $354 billion in revenues over the first year of its invasion of Ukraine. However, there are other Russian profitable industries that have not been included in sanction packages.

According to Ekonomichna Pravda, Russia still earns $20 billion a year from the export of metals and precious gemstones to Western markets.

Diamonds for Belgium

Diamonds are one of Russia’s top ten non-energy industries by value, with exports in 2021 totaling over $4.5 billion, according to the US Department of the Treasury. Russian gemstones are concentrated in the hands of the company Alrosa, responsible for 90% of the country’s diamond mining capacity.

The Kremlin has a large stake in the company which provides $1.5 billion to the country annually by selling precious gemstones to the European Union, as per UN Comtrade. The enterprise not only helps to finance Russia’s war against Ukraine but also supports the maintenance of the Black Sea fleet combat submarine named after the company — “Alrosa” – a carrier of cruise missiles.

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