Global exports to Russia most likely fully recovered in December, though many countries have not yet issued their trade data for the month, he said.
“Most of that recovery has been driven overall by China and Turkey particularly,” Mr. Klein said.
It’s unclear how much of this trade violates sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe, but the patterns are “suspicious,” he said. “It would be consistent with the idea that there are ways of trying to get around some of the sanctions.”
Silverado Policy Accelerator, a Washington nonprofit, recently issued a similar analysis, estimating that the value of Russian imports from the rest of the world had exceeded prewar levels by September.
One of the case studies in that report was the jump in Armenian smartphone sales. Andrew S. David, the senior director of research and analysis at Silverado, said the trends reflected how supply chains had shifted to continue providing Russia with goods.
Samsung and Apple, previously major suppliers of Russian cellphones, pulled out of the Russian market after the invasion. Exports of popular Chinese phone brands, like Xiaomi, Realme and Honor, also initially dipped as companies struggled to understand and cope with new restrictions on sending technology or making international payments to Russia.
But after an “adjustment period,” Chinese brands started to take off in Russia, Mr. David said. Overall Chinese exports to Russia reached a record high in December, helping to offset a steep drop in trade with Europe. Apple and Samsung phones also appeared to begin to find their way back to Russia, rerouted through friendly neighboring countries.