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Russia’s retaliation to foreign sanctions may be heavy

August 06, 2014, 19:16 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS / Marina Lisceva

MOSCOW, August 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia can and must respond to foreign sanctions in a balanced way, but at the same time the retaliation must be strong enough to let the countries that imposed the restrictions feel its effects, says the director of the Globalization Problems Institute Mikhail Delyagin, in the past an aide to Russia’s prime minister.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday asked the government to consider retaliatory measures in response to western sanctions against Russia, but in a way that would not harm the interests of domestic manufacturers and consumers. The government is now in the process of discussing the possibility of banning European air carriers from flying to Asia and back through Russian air space. The measure was proposed after Russia’s lowcoster Dobrolyot declared it was cancelling all flights due to sanctions - its contracts for leasing Boeing liners of US manufacture had been annulled. Earlier, Vladimir Putin warned that the authorities might take a closer look at who was operating in the Russian energy market and in what way.

“The Russian president said Russia must fight back only several months after the introduction of the first package of anti-Russian measures. This is a manifestation of unprecedented amicability and determination to find a compromise. Before that Russian politicians had repeatedly declared they had no intention whatsoever of building relations with the US and the European Union on the tit-for-tat principle. But we are being forced to retaliate,” Delyagin told Itar-Tass.

“Russia’s response to Western sanctions may vary from country to country. In relations with the United States Russia may raise the question of banning US fast food outlets, which treat their customers to products harmful to health. The same applies to the marketing of PepsiCo products and genetically modified goods from the US,” the expert said.

“Some claim that tens of thousands of Russians may lose jobs in US fast food chains, while others argue that Russian businessmen are quite capable of opening a chain of domestic fast food joints selling natural fried potatoes, and not of Brazilian flour,” Delyagin said.

“In relations with the United States the most sensitive measures may be taken in the banking sphere. Also, there is a possibility of replacing Microsoft software being used at Russia’s government structures with alternative substitutes,” the analyst said.

“Also, Russia may stop letting NASA use its rockets as a means of delivering cargoes to the International Space Station, a service the United States is so much interested in. Or, if asked to go ahead with space cooperation, Moscow may address Washington with its own conditions,” Delyagin said.

“As far as Germany as Russia’s main economic partner in the European Union is concerned, the two countries have strong bonds in power engineering and the automobile industry. But Russia may as well import high precision machine tools from advanced countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, which will surely result in direct losses for German manufacturers,” the analyst said.

“Most countries in the European Union may find rather sensitive the possibility of banning Asia-bound flights over Russian territory. The government is considering such an option at the moment. In my opinion it would be a far more elegant move to keep the air space open, but to considerably raise transit fees European air carriers pay for flying over Siberia and to used the extra revenues to improve Russia’s air traffic control service on the ground,” Delyagin said.

“The United States and the European Union have no intention of confining themselves to the sanctions that have been introduced already. For that reason Russia may eventually declare its walkout from the World Trade Organization and within a six-month deadline to cancel its obligations to foreign partners in view of force majeure circumstances,” the analyst pointed out.

“The process of leaving the WTO does not meet the interests of the country, but in the wake of the obviously politicized ruling by the international court in the Hague Russia should pay 50 billion dollars to Yukos shareholders Moscow may leave the international jurisdiction as harmful to national security and the country’s sovereignty,” Delyagin said in conclusion.

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