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Is there still more room for more sanctions from the West against Russia? The United States and the European Union have already imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Russia in response to various issues such as the annexation of Crimea, the conflict in Ukraine, human rights concerns, cyber-attacks, and other geopolitical tensions. To me, it seems like they exhausted all the room for further sanctions, but is it still the case, is there something the U.S. could do to further sanction Russia?

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    How could you doubt that? Ludicrously, everyone else could refuse to allow any Russian to exit Russia… Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 22:03
  • @RobbieGoodwin – but typically, term sanctions used in context between nations is understood as trade/economy/wealth sanctions. And also, only smaller part of world countries have joined sanctions so I am not sure how do you imagine sanctioning countries to stop Russians crossing borders to countries who are not party to any sanctions.
    – miroxlav
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 1:26
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    Until Russia is blockaded at sea, and China is blockaded for trading with Russia by land the sanctions have not gone as far as possible. Not advocating for any particular position here; just pointing out how extreme the possible is as compared to what's been done.
    – Joshua
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 18:01
  • @miroxlav Thanks and you seem to be suggesting that because some sanctions are in place, no other sanctions could help. Is that what you meant, or what? Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 20:36
  • "they exhausted all the room for further sanctions" I don't believe one can ever exhaust all the room there. Every day new room may open up, even if it's only very small room. Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 9:44

2 Answers 2

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Yes.

  • There is still remaining trade between Russia and the West, and this could be banned.
  • There could be "secondary sanctions" (i.e. sanctions against countries and entities which are still trading with Russia).

Both would seriously affect the economies of the West. For instance, Europe is still importing oil and gas from Russia in 2023. And both the US and EU are trading with China and India, which are buying from Russia.

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    To add, there exist several primary areas which the West does not want to stop, e.g. Netherlands has the whole diamond-processing industry processing raw imports from Russia they repeatedly avoid to include in sanctions. Also, U. S. companies in Europe do not fall under sanctions on primary imports, for example, they are buying Russian gas for their EU plants without sanctioned restrictions. Sanctions are picked selectively, targeted mainly for areas supposed to damage Russia more than its western partners.
    – miroxlav
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 21:06
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The real problem is that the West is no longer the site of as much real industrial production, and is comprised much more of a rentier economy than in the past.

Large multinationals like Unilever have pointed out that their "withdrawal" from Russia would simply mean abandonment of their rights of profit. Russia would seize their factories, their machinery, their records, and their workers (and the embedded know-how those workers have) - the Western owners would not, in any real way, be able to withdraw anything, because the Russian state will step in to stop them doing so.

So whilst the West can still go further in refusing to do business with Russia, they would simply be like a customer trying to boycott a supermarket - in terms of relative strength. Or a vampire boycotting the victims, in terms of relative consequences.

Secondary action against India and China - who each have strong and long-standing affinities with Russia, and quite some shared antipathy towards Western imperialism, and are certainly helping Russia to resist the effects of sanctions imposed so far - would mean the West taking on almost the entire engine room of the world and a third of the global population at once.

The early assumption seemed to be that Russia would have already somehow folded from the existing round of sanctions - perhaps through inducing internal political instability and population exodus, if not directly due to the sanctions.

A lot of people also seemed to believe that Russia was so deeply corrupt and undemocratic that simply hitting it's oligarchs would immediately lead to Putin being purged and a Western-friendly government being quickly installed.

Yet by all informed analysis of Russian politics, the loss of Putin would not lead to a more West-friendly regime at all, but to an even more hardline regime more prepared to use nuclear weapons.

In the event nothing has occured so far on the back of sanctions. I don't think any further sanctions directly against Russia will change the situation.

We could well be seeing the very moment of the West revealed as what Mao called a "paper tiger".

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    Note that several countries have now abandoned the dollar as the de-facto currency for doing oil deals.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 12:45
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    +1, I really like the pragmatism/realism vs idealism angle debated here. Ideally, the sanctions would hit Russia hard and effective, and had little-to-no effect on the countries imposing the sanctions themselves. Realistically, the sanctions hit both sides hard, but Russia was rather prepared for those blows, while the results for the West were rather painful. Pragmatically speaking, further sanctions would probably hinder the anti-Russia "coalition" more than Russia itself. TBH, imposing them was more of virtue signalling than dealing heavy one-sided economic blows.
    – user213769
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 16:13
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    This reads as poorly-disguised propaganda, and I'm astounded that it has upvotes on this overall-pretty-reputable site. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 20:42
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    @RyanJensen, have you ever heard the story of the emperor with no clothes? It'd be interesting to know whether you think the boy in the story was spreading "poorly-disguised propaganda".
    – Steve
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 9:50
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    @JonathanReez but what makes it read like propaganda is the unsourced claims like 'people seemed to believe that Russia was so deeply corrupt and undemocratic that simply hitting it's oligarchs would immediately lead to Putin being purged and a Western-friendly government being quickly installed.' - no one believed this - and more egregiously, 'We could well be seeing the very moment of the West revealed as what Mao called a "paper tiger".' - Ukraine/the west are winning the war. More slowly and expensively than they would like, but there is no axis where Russia is currently winning. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 16:05

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