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MOSCOW, 4 March. /TASS/. Senior Russian State Duma members see nothing tragic about the United States’ decision to extend anti-Russian sanctions.
"That’s a gesture of despair by President Barack Obama," the first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s economic policies and innovative development and enterprise committee, Mikhail Yemelyanov, told TASS. He believes that "the expectations the sanctions will succeed in forcing Russia to change its policy have failed."
"The US president can think up no other means of influencing Russia," Yemelyanov said.
He noted the extremely low effect of the US and European sanctions against Moscow.
"They have very negative effects for the countries that imposed them, because their national companies have been harmed to a greater extent, while Russian counter-sanctions have caused major losses to European agriculture and benefited the domestic producers," Yemelyanov said.
He added that over the past years the production of cheeses in Russia has grown 26%, of pork and beef, 20%
"Such restrictive measures by Europe and the United States are useful for our economy. Obama gives us more time to close our markets to US goods and to devote ourselves to import substitution, Yemelyanov said.
The first deputy chairman of the lower house’s international affairs committee, Leonid Kalashnikov, agrees. He believes that the US sanctions as an element of political pressures on Russia have reached nowhere, but one should not hope for their cancelation. "The Jackson-Vanik amendment stayed effective many years after the breakup of the Soviet Union… Now we are expected to return Crimea, but we shall never give it away," Kalashnikov said. He pointed to insignificant mutual penetration of the Russian and US economies.
"With Europe it is different. The Europeans will most probably lift their sanctions during this year, if everything is OK with Minsk-2 (the agreements on Ukraine achieved in February)," Kalashnikov said.
Senior Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov said Washington’s decision to extend sanctions against Russia shows the US administration is interested in the confrontation in Ukraine.
"If [US President Barack] Obama wanted to show that he is interested in strengthening the political process in Ukraine and not the military confrontation, he would have rather taken a decision to at least delay the extension of sanctions," said Pushkov, who heads the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma.
However, President Obama takes the decision "regardless of what is going on in eastern Ukraine," Pushkov said. "This confirms the Obama administration’s choice in favor of confrontation," he stressed.
The White House’s press service said overnight to Wednesday that Obama has extended for one year some sanctions, introduced earlier against Russia in relation to the crisis in Ukraine.