News Release

A View from Russia: Sanctions and Snipers

BEN ARIS, editor at bne.eu, Skype: bpnaris
Based in Moscow, Aris is editor of Business New Europe. He just wrote the piece “Sanctions — Not,” which states: “Almost no force has been used at all as the bulk of the people in Crimea have actually welcomed the Russian troops. … In a press conference Kerry talked about the ‘peaceful demonstrators’ who had risen up against a ‘tyrant’ in the pursuit of ‘democracy.’ There are hours of video tape showing protestors throwing Molotov cocktails and pictures of them carrying guns and even some footage of opposition snipers at work. Indeed, another leaked phone conversation made it on to the internet on March 6, this time between EU top diplomat Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s foreign minister Urmas Paet, in which they discuss allegations that someone in the opposition also ordered snipers into the field. [YouTube] …

“The legal arguments over the rights and wrongs of the arrival of thousands of Russian military personnel are actually pretty complicated and need to be resolved before punishments are meted out. … Putin’s actions are stunningly aggressive, but to be fair to him he has given plenty of warning that it might come to this. …

“In their current form the visa bans affect no more than a busload of tourists. Importantly, the White House specifically did not impose financial sanctions on banks or bank accounts, which has the potential to do real damage to the Russian economy by cutting off firms from credit. …

“As for the Ukrainians: they better be careful what they wish for. Ukrainians may quickly come to regret throwing themselves into the arms of Europe. In return for cash, the International Monetary Fund is certain to insist on a wide range of tough economic ‘reforms’ that will hurt the public first and foremost.”