Mon Aug 7, 2017, 12:41 PM

U.S. Sanctions Are Another Gift to Putin

Far from being hurt by them, he finds them useful...

By Leonid Bershidsky
July 31, 2017, 9:06 AM EDT

Russians miss out on these delights. Photographer: Jean Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin tends to respond to Western sanctions in ways its authors probably didn't anticipate: by going after those Russians who could most help their own country and who want to build ties with the West. His order last week to U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia to cut their staff to 455 people -- the exact number of staff that Russia has in the U.S. -- is the latest example.

In 2012, when the U.S. Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which authorized the government to impose travel bans and asset freezes on Russian officials involved in human rights violations, Russia responded by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children. The asymmetrical response was preposterous to many Russians, and thousands protested in Moscow. Those children whom no Russians wanted to adopt -- usually those with severe disabilities -- were put up for foreign adoption, and it was mindlessly cruel to deprive them of a chance for a better life. But Russian state TV conducted a major campaign at the time alleging cruel treatment of Russian kids by U.S. adoptive families and stressing national pride. Polls at the time showed about half of Russians supporting the retaliatory bill while less than a third were opposed.

In 2014, in response to Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe, Russia banned the import of a long list of foods from Europe. The effect on European food producers hasn't been major: It was largely offset by export increases to other markets and by immediate European Union support measures for certain countries and sectors. But every time I have visitors from Moscow in Berlin, I watch them stock up on cheese to take home.

People who miss French cheese are a relatively Westernized minority. Most Russians loved another state TV campaign (complete with images of illegally imported food trampled by tractors) that told them the countersanctions were good for Russian agriculture. Two-thirds of Russians say the government was right to introduce the food embargo. Only 12 percent contend that it hurts Russians more than the West.


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Reply U.S. Sanctions Are Another Gift to Putin (Original post)
RCW2014 Aug 2017 OP
Badsamm Aug 2017 #1

Response to RCW2014 (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 01:02 PM

1. All of Congress is colluding with the Russians?

That is some compelling evidence right there

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