Russian Sanctions Have Been Pointless, but the Next Ones Could Hurt the U.S. More
By Polly Mosendz
Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the United States has been issuing a series of retaliatory sanctions, all against particular Russian individuals. Moscow has responded in kind, with for tit-for-tat restrictions on American lawmakers. While they serve as useful shows of diplomatic strength, they have been largely toothless. Perhaps that's because if more restrictions come, they could be just as bad for the West as they are for Russians.
The original U.S.-led sanctions were against 11 executives and politicians — specifically, Vladimir Putin’s innermost circle — a development that most Russian politicians found vaguely amusing. A Russian official joked, "So what if I can’t get a visa to the United States? I didn’t want to go there anyway."
Amidst criticism from the EU and other nations, the U.S. Treasury has updated their sanctions list, bumping it up to twenty Russian officials. The sanctions include sixteen government officials, including Putin’s chief of staff, Sergie Ivanov; the speaker of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin; and Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the security and defense committee of the parliament’s upper house. The Treasury has also prevented United States banks and individuals from doing business with Bank Rossiya, as the bank is associated with Putin's inner circle. Still, no actual trade sanctions were issued against the country as a whole. Read more ...