Despite All Sanctions: Russia Imports More Than 1 Billion Dollars Worth of Modern Technology

Despite international sanctions, Russia has imported more than $1 billion of technology products, such as high-end processors. A UK-based company allegedly sent some of the contraband. This is evident from reports from the Financial Times and Nikkei.

The Financial Times report on the illegal export is based, among other things, on an analysis by Maxim Mironov, a professor at Madrid’s IE Business School who had access to Russian customs data, according to The Register. Mironov discovered that a UK-based company called Mykines Corporation was shipping products to Russia made by Huawei, H3C, Intel, AMD, Apple and Samsung without the proper authorization.

While probably not all of the technology is intended for use by the Russian military or national security services, permission would almost certainly have been denied, given Russia’s sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Trade analysis firm ImportGenius has reportedly corroborated some of the data discovered by Mironov. It provided data to Nikkei showing that $570 million in banned technology was exported to Russia via China and Hong Kong. It concerns 3,292 transactions worth at least $ 100,000 each. About 70 percent were products from US chipmakers such as (but not limited to) Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Texas Instruments. The total value of these transactions amounted to at least $740 million.

Based on historical trade flows to Russia, the Financial Times and Nikkei have determined that Mykines and the Chinese parties involved in exporting have significantly increased their exports to Russia after the sanctions were imposed.

The Biden administration, which has pushed for several sanctions packages over the past year, says it is aware of the routes buyers in sanctioned countries use to import modern technology. Apart from Russia, these are mainly Iran and North Korea. So the US wants to take firm action to tackle illegal exports.

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