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Ivan Timofeev

PhD in Political Science, RIAC Director of Programs, RIAC Member, Head of "Contemporary State" program at Valdai Discussion Club, RIAC member

Vladimir Morozov

Program Manager at the Russian International Affairs Council

The most important factor in the policy of sanctions against Russia will be Washington’s attempt to “bring EU sanctions under the American denominator”, i.e. facilitating the harmonization of the EU sanctions legislation with similar U.S. legislation.

One of the main tasks of the U.S. foreign policy towards Russia will be balancing the multiplespeed U.S. and EU sanctions. If the EU maintains the status quo, new U.S. sanctions may turn out to be unilateral, and therefore less effective. And vice versa, EU joining the new U.S. sanctions will lead to an increase in consolidated pressure on Russia. However, this will hardly lead to complete isolation of Moscow, that is, the sanctions coalition will still be limited.

The most important factor in the policy of sanctions against Russia will be Washington’s attempt to “bring EU sanctions under the American denominator”, i.e. facilitating the harmonization of the EU sanctions legislation with similar U.S. legislation.

One of the main tasks of the U.S. foreign policy towards Russia will be balancing the multiplespeed U.S. and EU sanctions. If the EU maintains the status quo, new U.S. sanctions may turn out to be unilateral, and therefore less effective. And vice versa, EU joining the new U.S. sanctions will lead to an increase in consolidated pressure on Russia. However, this will hardly lead to complete isolation of Moscow, that is, the sanctions coalition will still be limited. The following scenarios of the EU further steps can be delineated:

Scenario 1. The EU partially joins the U.S. sanctions

Any new formal document of the European Council on the expansion of sanctions will be a diplomatic victory for the United States, since it will mean that the EU line has become closer to the American course.

Scenario 2. Maintaining the status quo

The EU does not join the new sanctions. In this scenario, the U.S. can still achieve some success even if Brussels doesn’t formally introduce sanctions against Russia. The case of Iran shows that private business prefers to reduce risks and leave the target country under the threat of U.S. sanctions even in the case when the EU is opposed to unilateral American measures.

Scenario 3. The EU lifts the sanctions against Russia

Given the progress in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, the EU lifts sanctions against Russia. This scenario is unrealistic. However, it remains as a clear political alternative, whereas the Americans don’t have such alternative — the sanctions on the “Ukrainian package” have already been mixed with measures on other issues and have moved to the state of “perpetual”.

Scenario 1 is considered as the basic one, in the event the political situation worsens. Scenario 3 is totally unrealistic for 2019 in practical terms after the incident in the Sea of Azov.

Finally, another important area is the impact of sanctions on Russia’s partnership with third countries. We anticipate strengthening of the dualistic approach. The official government of China, India, and other countries will strengthen political dialog and interaction among stateowned companies. Steps will be taken to create new mechanisms for mutual settlements, in particular, in national currencies. However, private business with international ambitions will remain committed to the U.S. sanctions regime.

An important task for Moscow is to put an end to excessive following the American rules by private business and to ensure work in sectors not affected by sanctions. This task is difficult to implement, but it must be among the priorities for the medium term.

Sanctions against Russia: 2018 Review and Forecast for 2019, 3 Mb

(votes: 6, rating: 4.5)
 (6 votes)

Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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