Mar 21, 2022

Podcasts in the Classroom: Sanctions, Sanctions, and more Sanctions

This series is designed to bring together a variety of shorter, readily available podcasts to introduce a topic from recent headlines and inspire discussion.

The United States and its allies, in an attempt to put severe economic pressure on Putin to bring an end to the war in Ukraine, have placed sanctions of various types on a broad swath of Russian industries and influential individuals (oligarchs). You began to see “sanctions” in headlines as early as February 22.  In addition to the sanctions, many businesses in the western world are closing down their Russian operations even if they are not required to do so under any specific sanction. (For more on this topic, be sure to check out EconExtra: The Economic Impacts of War.)

Here are some 2-4 minute Marketplace podcasts discussing these headlines.

  • 2/25 Marketplace How do sanctions against Russian oligarchs actually work?
  • 3/7 Marketplace What it means to cut off Russia’s economy with sanctions
  • 3/10 Marketplace Who are the Russian oligarchs being sanctioned, and how did they get so rich?

Here are some relevant Marketplace Minute podcasts.

  • 2/25 Morning Briefing US sanctions target Russian trade and banks, which are now off the SWIFT system.
  • 2/28 Morning Briefing The World’s Sanctions are having an impact: the ruble drops 30%.
  • 3/1 Morning Briefing Russian’s Visa and Mastercard credit cards no longer work.
  • 3/2 Morning Briefing Several big name US companies announce they are pausing or pulling out of Russia.
  • 3/3  Morning Briefing US sanctions put on Russian oil.
  • 3/8 Morning Briefing Russia looking for workarounds to sanctions: cryptocurrency and a replacement for SWIFT.
  • 3/10 Morning Briefing Sony and Nintendo stop selling consoles in Russia, joining many other corporations in cutting ties to Russia.
  • 3/14 Midday Citigroup is the latest (and largest) bank to pull out of Russia.
  • 3/15 Morning Briefing Prices for oil, copper, aluminum and zinc ease after supply fears due to the war ease–and nickel is being traded again.


Determine how much time you want to devote to this activity, and select podcasts to provide students with background information. 

Have students then tackle these discussion questions. This can be done individually, in groups, or as a class. 

  1. What are the intended impacts of sanctions on Russia?  How are they hurting the Russian economy?
  2. How difficult is it to implement sanctions against Russian oligarchs?  What do you think is the desired outcome of these sanctions?
  3. Give some examples of how companies are grappling with the sometimes conflicting goals of maximizing revenue/profit and maintaining a positive public image when deciding what to do with their Russian operations.
  4. How successfully do you think Russia will be in working around the sanctions?  Why would any particular country want to help them? How might their economy change as a result of being cut off from a large proportion of their trading partners?


About the Authors

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an MBA in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducts student workshops, and develops finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

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