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Why Russia is shrugging off sanctions
Why Russia is shrugging off sanctions
After the U.S., the EU and some other countries imposed sanctions against Russia, it was most likely that they expected that it would surrender and change its political course. Perhaps they expected that Russia would renounce its independent foreign policy and start behaving like a «civilized» country, as British Prime Minister David Cameron once said.
However, it has appeared that the West severely miscalculated. However, this is not astonishing as in his recent interview with The Economist, President Obama used outdated data on Russia. Perhaps this means that his advisors also do. Thus the response to imposed sanctions appeared to be almost completely opposite to what was expected. Russia reacted with an embargo, a «smart response» as it was called, demonstrating it is not going to yield to the external pressure.
«Russia is introducing a full embargo on the import
of beef, pork, fruit and vegetable
Russia and the EU
For many years, Russia was trying to be a good partner of the EU and tried to cement stable relations with the U.S., especially on the wave of the «reset» in relations. It also tried forgoing its national interests for numerous gains promised by its Western partners. The current crisis has shown that these gains are small and elusive, but the risks of its dependence on the West (for example in terms of food security) are rather high, taking into account the possible unleashing of a new Cold War.
The current crisis and the sanctions game, which for the moment
don’t have a visible end and could escalate further, pushes Russia
to develop new foreign trade relations, and also pushes
it to intensify its relations with partners primarily within the
Eurasian Customs Union (that gives a new impulse to further intensive
development of the Union), in the Middle East, with the BRICS
Among the beneficiaries of the
At the same time, despite expectations of significant positive dynamics in the trade between Russia and Latin America countries, some experts are rather skeptical about further trade expansion as the capacities of Latin American markets have limits as well as the Latin American food industry itself.
However, it should not be forgotten that Russia has the ability to substitute imports with its own products. The embargo has already encouraged Russian agricultural and food producers that have seen in lack of state support over recent years.
It should be clear that the current seeking of partners to substitute the EU’s and the U.S.’s supplies is purley about business and partnership, not about building alliances.
For sure, the current crisis and trade partnership, in case
of successful and sustainable development, could lead to political
cooperation and the deepening of political ties between Russia and third
world countries as well as with powers seeking
The current, seemingly successful, bid to seek out import substitutes can lay the foundation for political changes in Russia’s foreign policy priorities as well as in the construction of new intensive sectors of international cooperation and partnership. However, being neighbors and living on one continent, Europe will always be a key partner for Russia, as well as Russia for Europeans, as history and common existence are always the best basis of cooperation. European countries and Russia would not be able to sustain the current low level of relations for a long time. It is not in the interest either of Russia or of the European states. The sooner the rhetoric is changed, the better for the West itself and for Russia. However, to restore trust between the players will be extremely difficult The responsibility to stop the current sanctions crisis lays on Western shoulders, as it was not Russia who started the issue. Russia can be talked to, but not dictated to. It seeks stability in Eurasian space more than any other country.
As for the moment, the crisis is still going on. The European countries, as well as the U.S., will hardly find alternatives in the near future to resolve the issue as Russia usually buys their products (finding sellers is always easier than finding customers). Anyway, they will waste much money and products before they find their new consumers. In this case, why not use the products nobly? So many people are starving all over the world, in international conflicts and in poorer states, which are suffering. Why not send them unexpected humanitarian aid?
Maria Dubovikova is a
«Говорят эксперты МГИМО», может не совпадать с мнением редакции портала.