Sanctions and instability
Russia's "counter-sanctions" ban on food imports has forced up prices within Russia—meaning Walker earns more for his product. But he warns that it has also made the market unstable.
"I think the sanctions do more harm to the market than good because they pervert the cost mechanism," he said. "We have no idea what our product is supposed to cost anymore."
"You go to one place and it says 2,000 rubles ($35) a kilo, you go to another place and it says 900 rubles a kilo. Before it was pretty understandable, you were somewhere right around 750."
Sanctions have also thrown international projects into turmoil.
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One of the main state-owned companies to be targeted by punitive measures is oil producer Rosneft. It had to postpone plans to drill in the Arctic with U.S. firm ExxonMobil. At the same time, sanctions have largely cut off state firms from international lending, making refinancing difficult, costly and a burden on the government.
However, Evgeny Gavrilenkov, chief economist at state-owned Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, argued that sanctions have inadvertently helped Russia's main oil and financial companies by forcing them to abandon riskier projects before the oil price fell.
"I think Russia should be very grateful for sanctions which were imposed a year ago," he said. "I can imagine easily that without sanctions, oil and gas companies could have started draining the North Pole and whatever in the Arctic, looking for energy which looked OK with $100, $110 oil, but if $40, $50, whatever, will be the new equilibrium, it's questionable."
U.S. and EU sanctions were meant to force Russia to back down in the Ukraine crisis—first over Crimea, then over its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
That has not happened.
"The sanctions did not produce a change in Putin's foreign policy," said Brookings Institute fellow Lilia Shevtsova, although she added that the threat of further sanctions may have prevented open Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Sanctions aimed at individuals failed to change Kremlin behavior and the broader economic punishment introduced later is mostly hurting ordinary people this year, according to Evgeny Gontmakher, an economics professor and former deputy minister of social affairs.
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Government estimates say inflation could hit 12 percent this year, hurting workers whose jobs are already under pressure.
"If the sanctions continue, they mostly hit the ordinary population, not the elite," he said. "Inflation is a tax on the poor, most of all."
He said the oligarchs have not yet become restive.