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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

Vladimir Morozov

Program Manager at the Russian International Affairs Council

Yulia Timofeeva

Program Assistant at the Russian International Affairs Council

— The report asesses the risks of sanctions against Russia over the year.

— By 2020, the use of sanctions against Russia had gained much more stability compared to previous years. The damage caused by the new restrictive measures can be considered limited. The key issue is whether the situation in the coming year will remain stable?

— Given the scale of the Russian economy, the current sanctions are unlikely to derail it. However, sanctions can cause grave problems for individual companies and projects. The risk of new sanctions stems from a series of political factors: the Ukrainian crisis and conflict in Donbass, the U.S. elections and the alleged meddling, the developments in the Middle East, etc.

— Regarding Ukraine, the crisis has noticeably stabilized. However, we should not expect any significant breakthroughs in terms of compliance with the Minsk Agreements in the coming year. The stabilization of the situation in Donbass significantly decreases the risk of new sanctions, yet this improvement will not result in the proportionate lifting of current restrictions.

— The problem of Russia’s alleged electoral meddling is likely to exacerbate in view of the upcoming 2020 presidential elections in the United States. The Congress, the media and think tanks will likely raise the question of preemptive sanctions against Russia. However, discussing possible measures does not mean they will automatically be adopted.

— Thus far, the situation in the Middle East is not fraught with a high risk of sanctions for Russia. However, the United States continues to impose sanctions on Iran, which increases the danger of secondary sanctions for international businesses, including Russian companies.

— The United States may very well crank up sanctions against China in 2020, although not exponentially. The effect of such sanctions on Russia will be limited.

— Our base scenario for 2020 envisions further stabilization of sanction risks for Russia. Even though the current sanctions are detrimental to the Russian economy and individual companies, it is unlikely that they will escalate. Sanctions might be introduced from time to time in response to individual developments, but they will not have a systemic effect on the overall development.

— It is unlikely that we will see a scenario in which relations between Russia and the West improve markedly. There is no reason to expect a significant easing of sanctions in the foreseeable future.

Policy Brief #27 / 2020

Executive Summary

— The report asesses the risks of sanctions against Russia over the year.

— By 2020, the use of sanctions against Russia had gained much more stability compared to previous years. The damage caused by the new restrictive measures can be considered limited. The key issue is whether the situation in the coming year will remain stable?

— Given the scale of the Russian economy, the current sanctions are unlikely to derail it. However, sanctions can cause grave problems for individual companies and projects. The risk of new sanctions stems from a series of political factors: the Ukrainian crisis and conflict in Donbass, the U.S. elections and the alleged meddling, the developments in the Middle East, etc.

— Regarding Ukraine, the crisis has noticeably stabilized. However, we should not expect any significant breakthroughs in terms of compliance with the Minsk Agreements in the coming year. The stabilization of the situation in Donbass significantly decreases the risk of new sanctions, yet this improvement will not result in the proportionate lifting of current restrictions.

— The problem of Russia’s alleged electoral meddling is likely to exacerbate in view of the upcoming 2020 presidential elections in the United States. The Congress, the media and think tanks will likely raise the question of preemptive sanctions against Russia. However, discussing possible measures does not mean they will automatically be adopted.

— Thus far, the situation in the Middle East is not fraught with a high risk of sanctions for Russia. However, the United States continues to impose sanctions on Iran, which increases the danger of secondary sanctions for international businesses, including Russian companies.

— The United States may very well crank up sanctions against China in 2020, although not exponentially. The effect of such sanctions on Russia will be limited.

— Our base scenario for 2020 envisions further stabilization of sanction risks for Russia. Even though the current sanctions are detrimental to the Russian economy and individual companies, it is unlikely that they will escalate. Sanctions might be introduced from time to time in response to individual developments, but they will not have a systemic effect on the overall development.

— It is unlikely that we will see a scenario in which relations between Russia and the West improve markedly. There is no reason to expect a significant easing of sanctions in the foreseeable future.

Sanctions Against Russia: A Look Into 2020, 1.8 Mb

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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