“The economic garrote” and the Kremlin’s response

It seems that after the adoption by the us Congress on July 27, the law on the strengthening of sanctions against Russia, the tension in relations between Washington and Moscow will only grow. Evidence of this was the reaction of the Russian authorities to the adoption of this law, and in particular the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision that Russia should leave 755 diplomats of the United States.

Recall that the Russian section is approved by the Congress of a law called H. R. 3364 — Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Act on countering U.S. adversaries through sanctions), has three main objectives. The first is to give legislative force to the four Executive orders President Obama issued in 2014 and directed against so-called separatists in Ukraine and those who support their activities, officials of Yanukovych and people close to Putin. These orders also restrict the possibility of attracting U.S. investment in the Russian financial sector, defense technology and energy.

The second is to expand existing sanctions, requiring the President, and not just giving him the right to introduce enhanced sanctions relating to the limitation of borrowing for the energy and financial sectors, as well as oil production, the capacity of public Russian companies to attract financing through privatization or investment in the amount of $ 10 million.

Third — to introduce new sanctions related to cybermohalla and human rights violations by the Russian Federation, as well as penalties associated with significant corruption in Russia.

Criteria for amendments to the sanctions remain virtually unchanged and relate to the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, as provided to the “Minsk agreements.” Powers to impose sanctions and to determine the list of persons who fall under the sanctions, remain with the President, but to make changes to the sanctions and to the lifting of sanctions will need to obtain the consent of Congress.

The law clearly defines the priorities of the foreign policy, to be followed by the President against Russia, in particular:

• urge the Russian government to withdraw from the territory of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova;

• give control over the border of those territories to the governments concerned;

• to stop actions that harm the elected governments of these countries.

The priority of support of Ukraine’s energy security is defined in a separate provision and contains, among other things, the points of support of energy market reforms, and opposition to the Russian project “Northern stream-2”, the promotion of energy security of Ukraine in cooperation with the European countries.

The emphasis is also on strengthening cooperation with the EU, in particular using the Fund to counter the influence of Russia with a budget of $ 250 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Most experts approvingly accepted the decision of the us Congress to tighten sanctions against Russia. However, some experts think this decision is erroneous. In particular, this is the opinion of the Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European studies and Professor of management and diplomatic service at Georgetown University, Washington, Angela Stent, who wrote an article entitled “the Law on us sanctions is a win for Russia”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of economy of Germany, Brigitte zypris called the bill regarding the US sanctions against Russia violate international law. Rather strange is this statement in light of the fact that Moscow had violated all norms of international law, annexing Crimea, while Russian aggression in the East of Ukraine, not to mention the interference in other countries.

“Day” appealed to the Ukrainian, Russian and American experts to comment on the value of the act of Congress, and the question of how the new restrictive measures may affect the Russian regime.

“The new sanctions will increase the loss”

John Herbst, the head of the Eurasian Dinu Patriciu center at the Atlantic Council of the United States, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Washington:

— The law on sanctions passed by Congress, is a serious blow to the Kremlin. Since trump was a likely candidate from the Republican party in the late spring of 2016, prior to joining the administration trump Moscow hoped that President trump will cancel the sanctions imposed at the end of 2014 and regularly renewable since that time. Trump clearly saw it in the first weeks of his stay in office.

But instead adopted these laws. The IMF said that in 2015 year sanctions cost Russia 1-1,25% of GDP. Recently, Alexei Kudrin (former Minister of Finance, Deputy head of the Russian government. — approx. ed.) noted that existing sanctions will cost Russia 5% of GDP. The new sanctions will increase the loss of Russia.

With regard to the article “the Law on us sanctions is a win for Russia,” Angela Stent is a well — known expert on Russia, whose opinion I respect. But our new sanctions will complicate the life of Putin. They are an important step in strengthening U.S. policy against the revisionist Moscow.

“Americans have learned an important thing: Russia must stop”

Mikhail Gonchar, President, Center for global studies “Strategy 21”, Kiev:

— The most painful option, which provide for these sanctions is a blow to all the “toys” of Putin, first and foremost, “Nord stream-2”, and the second strand of the “Turkish stream”, which was supposed to go to Europe. Therefore, such sanctions move provoked such a strong reaction in Moscow, Berlin and Vienna, in a number of countries involved in implementing these flows.

In terms of the broader aspects of the new US sanctions, the new restrictions apply even greater reductions to supply new technologies and equipment, as well as funding and investing in projects to expand energy production in Russia. And now it is even on the limitation of funding, starting with one million dollars. Therefore, all prospective projects for the production of energy in Russia are closed. Therefore, the situation with the implementation of the sanctions term has Russia’s attempts to increase its mining and export capacity, respectively.

And most importantly, that the law deprived the President the ability to unilaterally revise the sanctions regime without the consent of the us Congress. This means that these sanctions will have long-term character.

And the important point is that sanctions may be revised only when the Russian troops will be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Such an approach would have to be in the case of EU sanctions, where it all comes down to the Minsk agreements.

With regard to the statements of European Americans violation of international law in the implementation of such sanctions, the Europeans have really no argument. This is manipulation on their part, particularly by the Germans, Austrians and French, which all of us want to push the best, they believe, for the EU projects with Russia, first and foremost, “Nord stream-2”. Therefore, they manipulate international law.

Here you need to note the following. The Americans in contrast to Europeans, I realized one thing: that Russia must be stopped. Western sanctions that operate today, particularly in Europe, are insufficient and do not stop Russia. And we are talking about cybersexuality, in particular intervention in the American elections, which once again confirmed the willingness of the United States. Meanwhile, the Europeans continue to adhere to the approach: it does not matter who is the aggressor and who the victim is, perhaps, there is no aggression, so you need to force both to perform the Minsk agreement. And since sanctions are not working, they are useless.

The United States as the leader of the Western world began to act preventively in order to force Russia to reconsider its expansionist policies. And by the way, in the summit Declaration, the G7 noted the need to strengthen sanctions against Russia. Therefore, the United States did not break anything, and Vice versa, unlike the EU acted in the context of the agreements within the framework of the G7. Just the Americans ran out of patience.

And here occur the negative aspects of political Europe. When several major European companies, plus a Pro-Russian lobby through their national governments almost three main member countries, Germany, Austria, and France, form the decision of the European institutions indirectly affecting the articulation of certain positions that do not Express a consensus of 28 countries, and those countries that promote dialogue, cooperation with Russia, the easing of sanctions in pursuit of together with Russian companies profitable projects.

This would be the subject of consideration by the European Parliament or the investigations by national authorities, why the European Commission in the case of Russian aggression a long and tedious analyzed the situation, and there is an instant reaction to the us sanctions. No one is doing that, where did the Nabucco project, which was the number one priority for the European Union and Manager of which was an Austrian company that currently actively supports the project “Nord stream-2”. So there are a lot of nuances, and I think that the national security Agency, the US will eventually find the necessary files that will show the thorough corruption of a number of European structures, as well as at the national level in major member countries, the Russian gas how deeply corruption has eaten into the body of European bureaucracy and manipulates it.

“Russia does not know how to respond to the American challenge”

Lilia Shevtsova, a Russian journalist, Moscow:


— First, let’s evaluate what it means has not been signed by trump package of American sanctions against Russia. This package actually throws Russia out of the normal circle of international actors directly in the ghetto, including Russia to the list of rogue States, along with Iran and North Korea. Yes, while it is the collective assessment of the role of Russia, the American establishment. But we are talking about the attitude of a world leader and the locomotive of international relations. And this attitude will undoubtedly affect the position of the international community. In addition, the sanctions limit Russia’s participation in the globalization process, bringing Russia out of the global financial system and removing it from the global capital markets and technology. This is a powerful blow to the Russian economy and the country’s future.

Against this background, the reaction of President Putin is not just unintelligible, weak and inadequate. Think — Moscow sends 755 the American diplomats and picks up rented by the U.S. Embassy dacha and warehouse(!)! Well, frustrating and a headache for the Americans. You cannot be serious! It’s a mosquito bite, which is the elephant and not feel! By the way, suggest those interested in the story, watch Putin’s interview to the RTR lead Solovyov. This is a fascinating picture. Putin looks amazingly confused, dark, unfocused and completely unintelligible. But not aggressive, as expected. After all, it’s been a week and the rest of the Russian politicians and commentators deliberately played the part of the pack of bulldogs who were willing to break America. But Putin is not the… No… He was the epitome of peace and tranquility. Yes, he accused the Americans of “rudeness”. And that’s all. He gently warned that Russia has “other” replies. But all they said was say that such responses in fact. Unless Moscow is not going as usual to shoot Russia “up” and “bomb Voronezh” their otvetku, which will be directed against its own citizens. So here is the conclusion: Russia does not know how to respond to the American challenge.

This does not mean that the Kremlin will not come up with another stupidity, which will cause the return line to Washington and the world will be plunged into a situation of a new nuclear confrontation. But while the Kremlin does not want the aggravation. Trying to avoid it. Obviously. Putin himself understands that the deterioration will lead to that Russia will lose the most important resource of survival — at the expense of the West.

What’s next? Events unfold as in Hitchcock’s films. The state of an imminent threat continued to hang over the international situation. But this time its source is not only Moscow. But President of the trump that shakes the world order, undermining the international leadership of America. And a world without leadership begins to slide into chaos…

The impact of sanctions on Russia? The most catastrophic. They are able to destroy not only the Russian energy sector, but also undermine other sectors that need technologies and tools, cut off sources of international financing. In short, sanctions are, as I call it, “the economic garrote,” which is capable of slowly but surely strangling the Russian economy And the Kremlin is well aware.

Maybe the sanctions could be a boon for Putin? What kind of gift? To give him an excuse for anti-American hysteria? But it can trigger it, using TV and no sanctions. Although now people are not very susceptible to this kind of hysteria — the citizens care what they have there in the fridge. So, I see that the Kremlin can actually see in sanctions something positive for yourself.

If forced sanctions the Kremlin to withdraw from the Donbass? Well, talking about it too early. Now Moscow is trying to understand what they mean. The extent to which Europe can or cannot help Russia not to be in the ghetto. To what extent sanctions will actually be implemented, not to mankirovanie. So far I see no reasons for a serious review of Moscow’s policy towards Ukraine. But this policy is: to do everything possible to keep Ukraine in the sphere “of its interests”. Or, at least, complicate Ukraine strengthen its own statehood.