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Interfax: Western sanctions only united Russian society – Naryshkin

Russian Duma Building

CHERKESSK. Oct 21 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia have united Russians, said State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. Speaking at a meeting with members of the Karachay-Cherkessia People’s Assembly on Tuesday, he said that Western partners have been putting pressure on Russia, in particular, by introducing a number of sanctions, including

Putin’s import substitution policy is working

Grain file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 21, 2014) When Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off European Union imports of agricultural products earlier this year, one of the rationales was to give a boost to the badly underdeveloped domestic sector – and it seems to working. September’s retail and investment numbers were down but agricultural

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory,

Life in Russia with $80 oil

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – October 17, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. From late 2010 until the middle of August this year, the price of Brent crude has traded within a relatively narrow range and averaged close to $110 per barrel. Over the

Interfax: Russians feel no effect from Western sanctions, think Russian economy may benefit – poll

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) Most Russians claim they have felt no effect from Western sanctions and expect that the sanctions will be good for the national economy, sociologists have told Interfax. A relative majority (41 percent) of 1,630 respondents polled by Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said the

Interfax: Russia remains open to free trade zone with EU, Lavrov says

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 14, 2014) There is no alternative to improving relations between Russia and the EU and Russia is ready to discuss the creation of a free trade zone with the EU, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “I believe that no clear-headed person in Europe will argue with the fact that

Experts Divided Over Whether Sanctions Against Russia Are Working

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Voice of America – Andre de Nesnera – October 15, 2014) After several rounds of international sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March and support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, experts are divided over whether they are working. “It depends on what your understanding of the purpose of sanctions

RIA Novosti: Moscow Says Has Every Right to Introduce Sanctions Against US, But Chooses Not to

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

VIENNA, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Amid numerous US sanctions against Russia, Moscow has every right to begin introducing sanctions against the United States, but chooses not to follow this path, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister told RIA Novosti. “This is a reflexive, instincts-based reaction of Washington on what does not fit into the American idea

Most Russians Think Western Sanctions Will Boost Nation’s Economy

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 16, 2014) Despite an economic slump and rising inflation, the majority of Russians believe that Western sanctions and Russia’s retaliatory ban on food imports will actually help the economy, a poll published Thursday showed. Only 25 percent of respondents expect sanctions to damage the Russian economy,

Russia Can’t Be Blackmailed Over Ukraine, Putin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – October 15, 2014) It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview. Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming

Conflict With Russia Reaches Ukrainian Stores

Maidan Square file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Yana Polyanska, Claire Bigg – October 15, 2014) The standoff between Kyiv and Moscow has reached food stores in the Ukrainian capital, where Russian-imported goods are soon to be marked with special labels. The Kyiv city legislature has approved legislation ordering stores to enforce the new measure, which its initiator, lawmaker Ruslan

RIA Novosti: New Retaliatory Steps to Western Sanctions Not on Russia’s Agenda: Industry Minister

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is not going to introduce new measures in response to Western economic sanctions, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov told reporters on Tuesday. “We are not interested in responding [to Western sanctions] with some unreasonable measures. It’s our [Western] colleagues who should be thinking about when

Fears of a Russian credit crunch greatly exaggerated, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than

Interfax: Russia will protect itself from Western sanctions by long-term measures, says Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – October 14, 2014) Russia will use long-term measures to protect itself from Western sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “We will certainly adopt all the measures needed to protect ourselves from unlawful restrictions. You are aware of the resources that are being allocated for these purposes. Beyond any doubt, it will

Interfax: EU will review Russia sanctions in late October – head of EU Delegation

EU Map

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – The European Union plans to review its sanctions against Russia at the end of October, the Head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, said when answering a question from Interfax on the sidelines of the European Business Association forum in Moscow on Tuesday. The results of such

Russia signs raft of deals with China

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) Russia and China signed a raft of 40 agreements encompassing trade, energy, finance and technology, following a meeting between Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on October 14 in Moscow. The agreements demonstrate how Russia is looking for other options, after

Putin Deals China Winning Hand as Sanctions Power Rival

China Map

(Bloomberg – boomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Evgenia Pismennaya – October 13, 2014) Defying his former enemies in the U.S. and Europe may force Vladimir Putin to aid the ascent of his biggest rival in the east. Isolated over Ukraine, Russia is relying on China for the investment it needs to avert a recession, three people

Russia Spending $6 Billion Not Enough to Stop Ruble Rout on Oil

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – October 13, 2014) The ruble extended its longest losing streak in more than a year as $6 billion of Russian currency interventions failed to stem the depreciation amid tumbling oil prices. The ruble weakened 0.6 percent versus the dollar-euro basket to 45.3423 by 5:15 p.m. in Moscow, taking

Russia’s Oil Field Actions to Take Edge Off U.S. Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Elena Mazneva – October 10, 2014) U.S. and European Union moves to pressure Russia by threatening its oil output overlook one detail: a mass of conventional resources across Siberia, according to Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi. Russia will distribute more oil and gas deposits found in traditional areas during

Kiev Stores Ordered to Stamp Russian Products With Special Markings

Maidan Square file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 10, 2014) Kiev’s municipal council has ordered stores in the capital to label Russian-imported goods with additional markings to warn consumers they could be supporting the “aggressor” by buying the products, media reports said. According to the ruling approved by the city’s legislature, Russian made-goods will also have to

Interfax: Muscovites say food embargo doesn’t hamper food quality or assortment – poll

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – October 7, 2014) Food quality and assortments have not changed amid Russia’s retaliatory “food embargo” but prices have gone up, Muscovites told the Public Opinion Foundation. Two-thirds (66 percent) of 1,000 Muscovites polled over the phone on September 28 approved of the ban on food imports from a number of Western countries, 21

Interfax: Russia “moving along crisis trajectory” due to trade barriers – experts

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 7, 2014) The risk of the Russian economy moving from stagnation to a full-scale recession “has become slightly higher” in the short run, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 7 October, quoting the latest study carried out by a group of Russian researchers. The research headlined “Comments on the state and

Business New Europe: Ukraine fails to gain from EU free trade over six months

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 8, 2014) A report by Ukraine’s Alfa Bank argues that Ukraine has failed to gain from unilateral free trade with the European Union over the first six months. Exports have indeed grown but this has little to do with the free trade zone, says the report. In April

Gazprom proposes to pay for gas transit with Ukrainian debt

Gas Facility file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – October 6, 2014) Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has proposed to pay for gas transit through Ukraine using debt owed by Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz. According to experts, this decision is advantageous for Kiev, since it will speed up the renewal of

Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions, Part 2. Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 2. Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact. Russian companies failed to address key aspects of sanctions: 1. Large law firm incentives are against giving operationally useful sanctions advice and 2. Nature and enforcement of sanctions differ

Poroshenko talks reform with foreign investors

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 3, 2014) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed to foreign investors that his goal is for Ukraine to ultimately join the European Union, and for this sweeping reforms are necessary. “This involves a significant number of reforms and solving problems. It’s hardly possible to conduct 62 reforms simultaneously, but

RIA Novosti: US to ‘Roll Back’ Sanctions Against Russia if It Fulfills Minsk Agreement

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

WASHINGTON, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – US ready to lift some of the sanctions against Russia if the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk is observed, US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland stated. “When the Minsk agreement is fully implemented, we can and will begin to roll back some sanctions. It is in Russia’s hands

Interfax: Expansion of Russian cooperation in China not end of relations with Europe – Putin

China Map

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) – Russia has no intention of ending its relations with its traditional partners, including Europe, and expansion of cooperation with China is a global trend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia is also thinking about expansion of cooperation with China, and it didn’t begin thinking about it yesterday or due to

Interfax: Envoy Chizhov: European Commission starts to weigh Russian concerns over EU-Ukraine free trade

EU Map

BRUSSELS. Sept 30 (Interfax) – Russia is awaiting the European Commission’s proposal to lift its concerns about the enforcement of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told reporters. “The decision of the European Council was anticipated and quite consistent with the agreement reached

15 Global Firms Hit by Russia’s Law Limiting Foreign Ownership of Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s law limiting foreign ownership of media in Russia to 20 percent will overturn the country’s media scene. Foreign companies have been at the forefront of developing media in Russia since the early 1990s. They own stakes in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and television stations. Under the

Business New Europe: Russia has eager new oil and gas customers in Asia

Gas Facility file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – September 25, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. The main focus of Western sanctions against Russia has been to cause disruption to the banking and oil sectors. The former has directly squeezed the availability of liquidity on

Russia needs reforms, not a sanctions war

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Mau, special to RBTH – September 24, 2014) Vladimir Mau is the rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration. Mutual sanctions are always extremely unpleasant, and the application of sanctions and the “hot” trade war between Russia, Europe and the United

Moscow Times: Ukraine Crisis Halves Number of U.S. and EU Tourists Visiting Russia

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 10, 2014) Russian travel agencies say 40 to 60 percent fewer European and U.S. holiday makers came to Russia in the first half of this year than in the same period of 2013, while three times fewer Russian tourists went abroad, a trend they attribute to bad blood between

Interfax: Sanctions against Russia already affecting production of tight reserves, could impact shelf

Oil Worker file photo

KHANTY-MANSIISK. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed by the EU and U.S. against Russia are already affecting the production of tight reserves, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said at a briefing in Khanty-Mansiisk. “The sanctions, first due to technology, have not yet impacted [the country's economy], but are already affecting the production of

Business New Europe: Russia demands sweeping changes to Ukraine’s association agreement with EU

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 10, 2014) Moscow wants amendments to five vectors of Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union, according to liberal Ukrainian paper Zerkalo Nedeli. The amendment would see as much as 20% of goods excluded from free trade between EU and Ukraine. This would require renegotiation of the agreement

Interfax: State obligation is to defend business from illegitimate actions of foreign countries, companies – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

GORKI. Sept 9 (Interfax) – The state will continue to provide support to Russian business amid the Western sanctions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a meeting with NOVATEK (MOEX: NVTK) CEO Leonid Mikhelson. “You can have no doubt that in the face of such unfair actions the state has always supported and will

Consumers Stay Away From Moscow’s Malls as Sanctions Deepen Russia’s Slump

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 9, 2014) Nearly 25 percent fewer people visited Moscow’s malls in the week leading up the start of the school year than in the same period of 2013, a survey said, indicating that Western sanctions and an economic slowdown are hitting Russian consumer demand. A report by consumer market

Interfax: Russia dramatically reduces imports of sanctioned products from non-CIS in August

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Russia dramatically reduced imports of products that are under the food embargo in August compared with July. The food embargo was imposed on August 7, 2014. According to the Federal Customs Service (FCS), vegetable, dairy, poultry and pork supplies declined the most dramatically. So, in August the cost of imports

Moscow Times: New EU Sanctions to Inflict Long-Term Pain

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – September 5, 2014) The Russian business world is braced for the European Union’s unfurling of a fresh round of economic sanctions on Friday, with analysts predicting that Russia’s $2 trillion economy will be squeezed even tighter while its companies face isolation from international markets. A peace plan

Poll: Most Russians Would Sacrifice Booze and Cigarettes to Hurt West

Cigarette Being Lit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) More than 70 percent of Russians would ban imports of booze and cigarettes from Western countries in retaliation for sanctions, but few would give up foreign cars or pay an additional tax on vacations abroad, a recent poll indicated. Other popular measures included blacklisting foreign hotels (supported

Business New Europe/RIA Novosti: European Commission to level new sanctions on Friday

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Business New Europe – bne.eu/RIA Novosti – September 3, 2014) The European Commission suggests limiting Russian state-owned companies’ access to European capital markets, as it prepares to possibly impose new tougher sanctions on Russia at a meeting on Friday, September 5. According to agency statements, the new economic sanctions against Russia, proposed by the European

RIA Novosti: Russian Finance Ministry Expects Oil Prices of $90-95 per Barrel in 2015

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Ministry of Finance expects an average oil price of $90-95 per barrel in 2015, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. “The price for oil in 2015 will be $90-95 per barrel,” Moiseyev said. The Ministry of Economic Development earlier predicted an average oil price

Interfax: Russia could lose over 100 billion rubles from EU-Ukraine association – Putin

EU Map

MINSK. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The association agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine could cost Russia billions and force it to introduce protective measures, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Due to Ukraine adopting zero duties on EU imports (which is to take effect almost immediately after the ratification of the agreement and

As Russia and U.S. Struggle, China Rejoices

China Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – August 25, 2014) With multi-billion dollar energy deals between Moscow and Beijing recently being pushed through, China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is benefiting the most from the spiraling tension between Russia and the West over the violence in Ukraine. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier this month

Russian consumers hardest hit by sanctions

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Kira Tverskaya, special to RBTH – August 19, 2014) Economists point out that the Russian government’s recent food ban is likely to backfire as restaurants and consumers look for new sources for favorite products Moscow’s home cooks and restaurateurs alike have spent the past two weeks scrambling to

Moscow’s Food War With West Could Hurt Russia Most

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(RFE/RL Explainer – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – August 21, 2014) Moscow’s sweeping ban on food imports is meant as a slap in the face to Western powers for imposing sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. But the ban is also causing food prices to rise in Russia, which is a major importer of food and has few immediate supply alternatives. Here

Ukraine’s Next Crisis? Economic Disaster

Maidan Square file photo

(Oilprice.com – Robert Bensh – August 18, 2014) Ukraine’s next crisis will be a devastatingly economic one, as violent conflict destroys critical infrastructure in the east and brings key industry to a halt, furthering weakening the energy sector by crippling coal-based electricity production. The Ukrainian military’s showdown with separatists in the industrial east has forced

Moscow Times: Putin’s Food Ban Splits EU on Wisdom of Russia Sanctions

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – August 18, 2014) The European Union’s united front on Russia sanctions seems to be buckling, as Eastern European countries hit hardest by Moscow’s retaliatory food import bans begin to question the wisdom of wrecking their economies in the name of a strategy that has seen the crisis

Russian Farmers Will Need Years to Fill Gaps Left by Food Ban

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – August 15, 2014) Russian politicians have declared the recent bans on Western imports a golden opportunity for Russian agriculture – but farmers and economists warn that upping production is a question of years, not months, and closing the market will not be enough to solve its problems.

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