Russia’s military advances across Ukraine have aroused world public opinion in such a way that the cowardly EU government and the Brussels bureaucracy have been forced to blindly remove them and decide on far-reaching sanctions that were considered impossible three or four days ago. Within the EU, fears of political costs, such as sitting in the face of Russian aggression and doing little, have apparently upset the balance in Eastern Europe’s largest independent country.
Resistance to EU internal sanctions exceeds surrender points
Thanks to extensive media coverage of civilian casualties and a growing influx of refugees, as well as a strict social media focus and public outcry, billions of euros worth of complex sanctions decisions have been lowered to the level of propaganda slogans, if not unexpectedly miraculously. Most fenced-in EU governments have been forced to derail overnight (February 25-26), and their more proactive measures to enable tougher sanctions, including approval to exclude some Russian banks from SWIFT banking, have lagged behind their more active US and UK counterparts. And to impose sanctions on Russia’s ally Belarus.
Going faster and deeper than anyone expected
Sanctions are a blunt tool, and have been repeatedly chosen to make the leadership of any country involved feel better about “doing something.” The parallel losses of sanctions-compliant countries become a secondary consideration, if not completely ignored. The sanctions debate will continue until the final outcome of this conflict is determined; What is problematic is the ongoing process of massive over-simplification of the Western sanctions toolkit in the public mind, demanding solidarity with the Ukrainians and the immediate deployment of the largest available economic weapons, regardless of cost.
The EU is doing much more than expected, but not everything is possible
As Russia’s progress on Ukraine continues, the internal resistance to tougher sanctions from a number of EU member states has gradually melted away, as noted earlier. In the last days of February, the world was dealing with a striking array of EU sanctions announcements covering everything from aviation, finance, high-tech exports and the so-called “Golden Visa” scheme, and was extended to cover Belarus. Energy sales are currently off the table, but financial flows and the suffocation of some technologies will have an impact on that sector over time.
The EU adopted its second wave of sanctions on Friday, February 25, just two days after its extremely weak first package, which now targets significant sectors of the Russian economy and other high-profile political and military leaders in Russia and Belarus:
Additional (second wave) a significant expansion of financial and capital market constraints targeting Russian banks and other entities, as well as deposits and investments by Russian citizens, EU residents and regulated entities;
Extensive restrictions on trade in goods and related services, including “dual-use” and various other items, especially components of the semiconductor and oil refining, aviation and aerospace sectors;
New titles for Russians and Belarusians, including Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. To date, 654 individuals and 52 entities have been designated under the EU’s Russian sanctions regime, including the seizure of assets, EU travel bans and the provision of funds or other financial resources to listed individuals or entities under their control.
Bring pain to the Russian economy
February 25 EU sanctions are designed to reduce Russia’s access to the most important capital markets. They prohibit the listing and provision of services relating to shares of Russian state-owned entities at EU trading venues. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
Brussels has also introduced new measures to significantly limit financial flows from Russia to the European Union, banning deposits of more than a certain value (100,000) from Russian citizens or residents, holding Russian clients’ accounts by EU Central Securities Depository, as well as Russian clients. -Sell scheduled securities.
There is strong resistance within the European Union, especially from Germany, to remove Russia from the SWIFT financial services communications network. However, there has been considerable progress on that front. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the EU have jointly stated that a number of “selected” Russian banks will be removed from the Swift system to ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and undermine their operating capacity worldwide. Not identified.
Russia’s complete removal from the SWIFT will make it difficult, if not impossible, for EU countries to pay for Russia’s energy supplies, and will be off the table for now. Nevertheless, the complete expulsion of Russian banks from the Swift system has become a major demand of Ukrainian immigrant groups in the West, as well as their supporters.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also announced that she will propose to EU leaders that they “cripple Russia’s central bank assets” in order to suspend its transactions and make it impossible to end assets such as US sanctions. Once the G-20 has been approved by the central bank, it is considered extraordinarily sufficient once implemented.
The EU will implement regulations in the coming days to ban the sale of all aircraft, spare parts and equipment to Russian airlines, which have also been banned from EU airspace. On the strength, the European Union will prohibit the sale, supply, transfer or export of certain oil refinery products and technologies to Russia, and will impose restrictions on the provision of related services to prevent the upgrading of Russian oil refineries. This does not apply to natural gas production.
In terms of technology, the updated EU-Russia sanctions regime removes “military use or end-user” eligibility and instead imposes a blanket ban on the supply of dual-use items (anything that can be used in the military or civilian sector). For use in Russian person or in Russia. A new and comprehensive EU list will limit the export of a wide variety of electronics, computers, telecoms, data protection, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics, marine and space items that are not already regulated under the so-called “dual-use list” for most of these technologies. There will be “human exceptions” if there are no military end users. This is especially important in light of the global Covid-19 epidemic. Unfortunately, these exceptions have often been abused in other international sanctions regimes.
The EU has finally decided on a visa policy. Diplomats, other Russian officials and businessmen will no longer be able to benefit from the visa facilitation provisions that allow them special privileged access to the EU. However, the EU’s decision will not affect ordinary Russian citizens, meaning existing visas will remain valid.
The sale of EU housing and citizenship to the rich through the so-called “Golden Visa / Passport” program has also come under attack as it provides an ideal way to avoid sanctions on Putin’s high-income oligarchs and his other supporters. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the EU have stated in a joint statement that the signatories warned: “In particular, we are committed to taking steps to restrict the sale of citizenship – the so-called Golden Passport – which allows rich Russians affiliated with the Russian government to become citizens.” Gain access to our financial system. ”
Still more bans, Russian media banned, flights blocked
In another notable set of sanctions on Russia, the EU announced on February 27 that it would impose sanctions on Russia’s state-backed channel Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in an unprecedented move against Putin’s media machine.
Von der Lane, President of the European Commission, explained; “Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their allies, will not be able to propagate their lies in order to justify Putin’s war and sow discord in our union. That is why we are developing tools in Europe to ban their poisonous and harmful activities.”
On 28 February, the EU Council adopted regulations banning all types of Russian-registered aircraft from entering EU airspace. Moscow announced a full retaliatory embargo on EU airlines and others after 28 February, similar to the measures taken in the UK after the ban on aeroflot from UK airspace.
Prepare for a prolonged ban campaign
With the ultimate goal of preventing Ukraine’s involvement in the Russian-Belarusian economic sphere, the Western public must be educated and prepared for the long haul, especially given Putin’s fancy new name for the grouping, especially now that export ban technology is being tightened and travel bans phased out. Being imposed.
Russia’s share in world GDP is about 3.1% (using PPP method). Sanctions need to be enforced consistently and forcefully so that this share does not increase and Ukraine’s resources are not ultimately plundered in order to create a new East Block economic system like the almost forgotten ancient COMECON trading system. It may be time to dust off the Soviet economic planning textbooks of the 1970s.