Time to Ease Sanctions on Russia
By Benno Zogg and Andreas Beyer
A new policy brief on Russian sanctions was published by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich. Benno Zogg, MR 2018 Alumnus, co-authored the report. He believes that sanctions are a diplomatic tool, not an end and they have had only limited success. PICREADI presents the key points of the policy brief.
Benno Zogg
Researcher, Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich;
Co-Head, Peace & Security Programme, think tank Foraus, "Meeting Russia 2018" Alumnus
"Realistically, a lasting change in Russia's posture on the international stage must come from within and will not be induced by outside actors"
Key points:

1. Since the adoption of sanctions in 2014, the EU, the US and other Western states regularly extended sanctions against Russia without a clear strategy or assessment of whether they are succeeding.

2. The Russian population bears the costs of sanctions, not the oligarchic elite. This inner circle now depends even more on state support. Russians perceive sanctions as humiliating; they have thus stirred nationalist sentiment and helped boost Putin's popularity.

3. There is no majority in the EU supporting a tightening of sanctions. Fully lifting sanctions will embolden Putin and give away a bargaining chip. Sanctions targeting Crimea should remain in place to ensure Russia does not benefit from the annexation.

4. Hence, sanctioning states should abandon the current approach of only lifting sanctions for Moscow's full compliance with the Minsk agreements. Europe should allow for a gradual easing of sanctions, which enables and requires Russia to make first de-escalatory steps in Ukraine.

Full text: