Sanctions work – in the long run!

At the 2015 CIOR Seminar, Professor Ralf Roloff of the Marshall Center sought to explain the implications of the sanctions imposed upon Russia by the European Union. Economic sanctions, he argued, work – albeit slowly – by utilising a logic of asymmetric interpendence: They simply hurt Russia much more than they do a politically unified European Union and can, therefore, be considered a valuable part of a new strategy of containment as well as engagement of Russia.

Sébastien Bertrand/ Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licenseBecause of the asymmetrical nature of economic relations between the EU and Russia, these sanctions will have considerable impact on Russia in the long run. Moreover, the sanctions threaten to throttle an already weakened economy which is vastly dependent upon oil exports. In contrast, the impact on the EU is small: Overall, economic growth might be reduced by 0.2 – 0.3%. However, the impact is not evenly spread, with countries such as Finland and the Baltic states bearing the brunt of the costs. This will have to be carefully managed through the Common Agricultural Policy, Roloff argued.

Courtesy of Henry Plimack (2015)

Professor Ralf Roloff – Courtesy of Henry Plimack (2015)

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Russia’s Orthodox Soft Power

Licensed under CC SA 1.0Foreign policy is determined by two variables: Interests one the one hand, and values on the other hand. Much has been written about the former with regard to Russia’s current foreign political stance – values, however, have not featured so prominently in many analyses, Professor Nicolai Petro claimed at the 2015 CIOR seminar.

The question of values is most prominently visible at the intersection of the Orthodox Church and the Russian state – and at the idea of the “Russky mir”, or Russian World. While many analysts consider this idea to bethe intertwining of church and state, it is often overlooked, Petro argued, that both sides actually interpret the term quite differently. Nonetheless, the close and symbiotic relationship between church and state is likely to continue to shape Russia’s future aspirations.

Professor Nicolai Petro - Courtesy of Henry Plimack (2015)

Professor Nicolai Petro – Courtesy of Henry Plimack (2015)

Click here to download Professor Petro’s Paper on Russia’s Orthodox Soft Power