El contragolpe de las sanciones

BERLÍN – Al intensificarse la crisis en Ucrania, los Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea están encerrados en una batalla de voluntades –y sanciones– con Rusia. De hecho, en represalia por la intensificación de las sanciones financieras occidentales, Rusia ha anunciado una prohibición de importaciones agrícolas y de alimentos procedentes de los EE.UU. y la UE, pero la amenaza real para Occidente estriba en las posibles repercusiones de una crisis financiera desencadenada por sus propias sanciones contra Rusia.

Pensemos en la crisis financiera de Rusia en 1998. En agosto de aquel año, el entonces Presidente, Borís Yeltsin, declaró: “No habrá devaluación: eso es seguro”. Tres días después, se devaluó el rublo y los mercados financieros rusos tuvieron una caída en picado. Como no cesaban de salir capitales del país, el Gobierno de Rusia se vio obligado a reestructurar su deuda y la economía entró en una recesión profunda.

Aunque, financieramente, Rusia era relativamente insignificante, su crisis tuvo consecuencias transcendentales. Uno de los países más afectados fue la Argentina: la crisis rusa exacerbó la pérdida por parte de los inversores de la confianza en los mercados en ascenso que culminó en la suspensión de pagos de la deuda soberana de la Argentina menos de cuatro años después. Ni siquiera los EE.UU. y Europa fueron inmunes, pues el desplome del importante fondo de cobertura Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) intensificó la ansiedad sobre la viabilidad de muchas otras entidades financieras.

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