The Anglo-American axis needs a common market, not a common alliance

It is hard to remember a day since the start of the conflict in Ukraine when there was no talk of new sanctions being imposed on Russia. May 9andthe EU has announced that it has almost completed preparations for the sixth sanctions package, and internet rumors are already pointing to the seventh.

What are penalties?

In short, sanctions are a list of political and economic decisions applied by states and organizations in order to protect national interests, international law and defense against threats to international peace and security. As a rule, they are temporary and are removed when the cause/threat has been eliminated.

According to the EU’s official website, “restrictive measures (sanctions) are an essential tool of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), through which the EU can intervene if necessary to prevent conflicts or respond to emerging or current crises. Despite their colloquial name of “sanctions”, EU restrictive measures are not punitive. They aim to bring about a change in policy or activity by targeting non-EU countries , as well as entities and individuals, responsible for the malicious behavior in question.[1]

How many sanctions have been imposed against Russia in total?

May 8and, the Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, shared a message on his Telegram channel that “10,128 sanctions have been imposed on our country. More than against any other state in their entire history.[2] Of these, 2,754 were introduced in the period of 2014 (the Crimean problem) and before the start of the special operation in Ukraine.[3] The others – more than seven thousand – were introduced in a short period of three months. According to The Castellum.AI, a service that keeps a record of sanctions and updates them weekly, as of May 9 the number has already topped 7,600, making Russia the state with the highest number of sanctions imposed. . For comparison: 3,161 sanctions were imposed against Iran, 2,608 against Syria and 2,077 against North Korea.[4] Other states can “brag” a list containing less than 1,000 sanctions. Thus, in a short time, Russia not only entered the list of sanctioned countries, but also surpassed it.

The sanctions have affected almost all sectors of Russia – from individuals, the list of which already numbers in the hundreds, to the spheres of energy, economy, trade… The enumeration can go on for a long time. It can be said that there is hardly a single area left that has not been affected by the sanctions: for example, one of the articles published by the Atlantic Council was titled “What is left to sanction in Russia? And yet, in almost all the examples given, it is mentioned that sanctions have already been imposed in this area.[5]

So, is there anything else that can be included in sanctions lists? The question itself is good, but alas, it will take a long time to search for the answer: the sanctions are already everywhere.

So do the sanctions make sense?

This is quite an interesting question, although in this situation it would be more accurate to say that sanctions not only have a purpose, but also consequences.

As mentioned above, sanctions are usually temporary, but Russia lives with nearly 3,000 sanctions imposed against it for over 8 years. Did it bring tangible results in influencing Russia? No. Did those who introduced them achieve the result for which they introduced these sanctions? No. Have these sanctions been lifted? No. So is there any point in imposing them on Russia? The answer is always the same – no, because as we can see, these sanctions are in the list of existing sanctions, and Russia continues to exist, successfully adapting to them. And there are a lot of sanctions – 2,754 (for the period before the Ukrainian problem), but the fact is that the country against which they were introduced does not complain about its size and capabilities either.

There is a purpose in the sanctions, and first of all – for Russia.

Following numerous export bans of various types of products, as well as the departure of many companies operating in various fields, the Russian government has introduced a number of measures to support different fields, and which have already started to give positive results. According to Rosstat, several sectors of the Russian economy showed positive dynamics as soon as the measures were introduced (compared to the same period of 2021): the mining industry grew by 7.8%, energy supply, heat and gas – by 1.5%, water supply and waste disposal – by 7.2%.[6] There is also an increase in the food sector – by 1.1%, and medical production increased by 46.8% compared to March 2021, and turned out to be 9.1% higher than February 2022 As data from Rosstat show, according to a preliminary estimate of the country’s GDP for the 1st quarter of 2022, there is a positive growth of 103.5% compared to the same period last year.[7] The Economist noted that “while imports are falling and exports are holding up, Russia is running a record trade surplus.”[8] The Institute of International Finance estimates that “in 2022, the current account surplus, which includes trade and some financial flows, could reach $250 billion (15% of last year’s GDP), more than double the 120 billion dollars recorded in 2021”. As a result, the world sees that instead of harming Russia, sanctions are helping to strengthen it. [9]

The consequences of the sanctions, however, were suffered not only by Russia and Belarus (which also got quite a few due to their good relations with Russia), but also by the rest of the world, including even the part that had nothing to do with this problem. And the consequences of these more than 7,000 recently imposed sanctions are particularly serious.

Some countries are already complaining of food shortages, as their supplies have been severely reduced due to the sanctions. People are unhappy with the increase in prices of various products and goods, but this is due to the increase in fuel prices – which people are also unhappy about. Shocks and unrest in social and economic sectors have started to affect the political situation both within countries and their international policies, as they have to choose whether to join the sanctions or try to stay away.

Why try”?

Even in the early weeks of the conflict, the United States was seen trying to pressure states into joining some sort of “sanctions coalition” or staying away, preventing any attempt to help Russia. One of those countries turned out to be China: in April 2022, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said sanctions on Russia should give China (and President Xi personally ) an idea of ​​the consequences she might face. in case of assistance to Russia: “ gives President Xi, I think, a pretty good idea of ​​what might happen to him if he actually supported Putin in any material way.”[10] If there has been an attempt to put pressure on China, which is far from being the last figure on the international scene, what about other states, especially European ones?

Hungary is now becoming one of the stumbling blocks, as it refuses to support sanctions over the embargo on fuel imports. According to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, it will be the equivalent of an atomic bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy, since it will simply not have time to adapt – it will take at least five years and a large number of investments. Nevertheless, he noted that Hungary is ready for negotiations – if the proposals are in line with the interests of the state.[11] However, according to reports, a videoconference between Ursula von der Leyen and Viktor Orban, held on Monday last week, did not lead to a compromise, thus delaying the adoption of the sixth – the heaviest, according to representatives of the EU – sanctions package. .[12] In this context, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki expressed the view that the sixth sanctions package could be adopted in a reduced form, because “we must observe unity in the EU”.[13]

So… what can we expect in the future?

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

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