Sanctions and International Response
Right from the start of the Ukrainian crisis the difference of interests and approaches between the EU, the USA and their allies (on the one hand) and the RF (on the other hand) was obvious. These differences eventually escalated into an evident political confrontation. The western allies started to apply economic sanctions against Russia. Russia responded with sanctions as well. The EU sanctions included an embargo on weapons and ammunition sales. The sanctions banned also the sale of dual-use goods and technologies necessary for oil and gas industries and shale, arctic exploration.
In response to the sanctions applied against Russia the RF president prohibited the import of agricultural goods such as beef, pork, poultry, cheese, fruit and milk for a year from the following countries: the USA, the EU countries, Canada, Australia, Norway. At the same time the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg passed a resolution in favor of the “Yukos” oil company in prejudice of Russia whereby the RF was to compensate the “Yukos” shareholders 1.86 billion euro. However, “Yukos” had demanded 98 billion euro.
The western sanctions, employed in 3 stages, had an effect on ordinary people and financial-economic system in the main: the value of ruble was decreased led by abrupt inflation. It is necessary to mention that the economic sanctions imposed on Russia did not have the expected consequences. The social problems did not escalated into political complaints, which was conditioned by psychological peculiarities and hasty collectivity of Russian nations (the Patriotic Wars and generally any attempt of international suppression on Russia have always brought to the rise of patriotism, pro-government and unity in that country). The decisive package of assets of several gigantic corporations was Russia’s another positive acquisition. When the devaluation of the ruble and the economic decline were on the culminating point, the value of those assets seriously decreased, and the owners started rapidly to sell those. Taking the opportunity the state bought the assets at the expense of state resources setting up a state control.
Let us view the losses that the western countries will incur in the result of Russian sanctions imposed on them. The latter might cause a damage of 6.7 billion euro to EU (calculated by ING) endangering 130.000 work places throughout Europe. Instead, Russian economy was much more susceptible towards the sanctions, however, by now there is no more or less reliable and professional calculation about how much economic loss the state has incurred.
On 15-16 November 2014 the G20 summit was held in an Australian city, Brisbane. Analyzing the treatment towards Putin – icy reception, the content of the conversations with the Prime-Ministers of Canada and Great Britain, isolation, etc. – we come to the conclusion that in the struggle against the Russian belligerent policy, among other sanctions, an approach to put pressure on Putin has started to be employed. Besides, Russia obviously drops behind the geopolitical developments for the simple reason of being left out of account. Russia was mistaken considering that its political-economic position had reached such a high level, that no serious geopolitical process could be implemented without Russia. No commentary is needed in the sense of politics. In the stages of adopting and employing political resolutions Russia is absent for a long time. And as far as the economic affairs are concerned the latter has always been Russia’s sore spot. So, Russia is the eighth largest in the world by its nominal GDP, possessing 2% of the world GDP. The GDP of the USA, the EU and Japan together makes up the 53.4% of the world GDP. Russia leaves out the G20 without the income that the oil and gas exportation brings, getting equal to the indices of Sweden. The prevalence of the ruble makes up 00.2% in the world trade and its stability completely depends on oil and gas prices.
Russian political elite, however, seeks ways to get out of the situation not by improving the obvious illegal and deleterious policy, but by establishing fictitious axis with China. This refers to the Russian-Chinese contract (21.05.2014) which is exaggerated by Russian mass media and statesmen and which total pecuniary value for 30 years is only 400 billion dollars (approximately 13 billion/year). To understand the insignificance of this contract let us turn to the Chinese acquisitions during the Brisbane summit (15-16.11.2014). China maintained its position in the African market, where its money-turnover surpasses the Russian-Chinese one, signed contracts with Australia and other Pacific countries. New Chinese-Japanese contracts were signed as well. For the first time it was announced about a colossal project “New Silk Road”, in which Russia will be involved too, however, it is not quit clear yet how much its involvement will be. All contracts mentioned above surpass the sizes of the Russian-Chines gas contract each taken separately.
1 million deportees: 634.000 internal, 594.000 external, more than 5000 killed peaceful residents, more than 8000 killed soldiers, more than 10.000 wounded people: this is the approximate picture of the consequences of Ukrainian crisis and wars.
The political-economic conflict between the East and the West, which we have witnessed for the last three years, can be described by the term “New World Cold War”. The latter is a new type of war, which differs with its quality from the previous ones. Since the creation and spreading of the weapon of mass destruction the risk of the “hot” conflicts has practically disappeared. If ordinary “cold war” represents an entity of arms race and a struggle of spreading of local hot conflicts and systems, then today’s “cold war” (novum bellum frigidum) is described by the unity of finances, international economic tools, economic coalitions, resources (mainly of energy) ad again of local hot conflicts.
This antagonism made the global and regional goals of both sides clear. Russia aims at least to maintain the neutrality of post-Soviet countries and more desirable is to establish federative relations with them following the idea of Eurasianism.
The implementation of political, cultural and orientational changes in the countries that are traditionally in the Russian area of influence is a regional purpose for the USA, and the maintenance of the world hegemony which has still being realized successfully by the USA is its global purpose. Russian professionalism, determination and the ability to make decisions accurately were obvious throughout the conflict, which, however, are classical advantages of authoritarian regimes. It became obvious also that all Russian political system was based on one person only, which, perhaps, is one of the weakest sides of today’s Russia.
Among the effects of Ukrainian crisis were Russia’s constant or long-term loss of Ukraine the biggest country in its area of influence, the rise of hostile atmosphere between neighbor nations, international and cultural isolation of Russia. Not active involvement in the conflict of the allies definitely showed Russia’s geopolitical solitude. Instead of all this Russia acquired Crimea. All in all we are witnessing an important historical event: since the 18th century Russia had not been at war so near to its own borders, losing the war. Russia, which is not among the economically superpower countries, and which is defeated in the geopolitical fight even next to its own borders, keeps on displaying pretentious political ambitions , which are mainly the result of the great-power aspirations of the nation and the will and wishes of the leader of Russia and which are mostly beyond the reality.
It is necessary to note that the tendency of democratization and westernization had never been so close to Russia. The conflict is not for the EU member Czech Republic or Mexico, neighbor of the USA, but the immediate and biggest neighboring country of Russia, and a part of its historical self-consciousness, Ukraine, is under dispute, which is already a defeat for Russia.
In the result of Ukrainian crisis the geopolitical situation and the distribution of power have been presented more clearly. In spite of all the previsions, the world keeps on remaining American-oriented which is conditioned by the absence of another powerful center.
- Грушевский М.,. Иллюстрированная история Украины, Киев, 1995.
Author: Areg Kochinyan: © All rights are reserved.
Translated by Tamara Sargsyan