Sanctions

The ins and outs of the impact that these latest sanctions will have on the Russian economy is not my area of expertise. For that I will direct you to this explanation from The Economist.  I am more interested in the impact on the Russian government and the people surrounding it.

As we have just passed what is now the fourth month since the first sanctions were imposed, the question of their effectiveness is being hotly debated. The problem is determining the exact goal of the sanctions. If the goal of the sanctions is to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to see the error of his ways, and backtrack on his support of the militants in eastern Ukraine, then so far the sanctions have been an abject failure.

However, I am more inclined to ascribe to the theory that the sanctions are intended to force a split in the Russian elite. The sanctions have mostly targeted a specific group within the Russian government and those near it. The people typically referred to as the ‘siloviki’, those with a background in the Russian security services.

The most significant thing about the names and companies listed in the most recent group targeted by the European Union was who was not on it. Rumor indicated that Sberbank, Russia’s largest commercial bank & biggest lender, would be on the list. German Gref, the president of Sberbank, has long been labeled a ‘liberal’, and has so far managed to avoid being sanctioned as an individual.

Other ‘liberals’ who have also managed to avoid being sanctioned are Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.These are people the West continue to believe they can talk to. Whether or not this line of reasoning will show results is yet to be seen, but we have not seen any obvious movement in that direction so far.

Below is a list of individuals who have sanctioned by the United States and the European Union so far. The first list from the United States in March 2014:

  • Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov;
  • Presidential Adviser Sergei Glaziev;
  • Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky;
  • Federation Council Senator Andrei Klishas;
  • Head of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko;
  • Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin;
  • Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina.

See this article for background information on the names listed above. The European Union’s list in the wake of the annexation of Crimea mostly focused on local leadership. There was some overlap, however, with the US list. The EU also included Slutsky, and Klishas. The second round of US sanctions targeted 16 Russian legislators and government officials, and was released on 20 March 2014.

  • Federation Council Senator Viktor Ozerov;
  • Federation Council Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov;
  • Federation Council Deputy Speaker Evgeni Bushmin;
  • Federation Council Senator Nikolai Ryzhkov;
  • Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Sergei Zheleznyak;
  • Duma Deputy Sergei Mironov;
  • Federation Council Senator Aleksandr Totoonov;
  • First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Parliamentary Issues Oleg Panteleev;
  • Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin;
  • Director of the Federal Drug Control Service [FSKN] Victor Ivanov;
  • Head of Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU) Igor Sergun;
  • Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov,
  • First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Alexei Gromov,
  • Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko,
  • Chief of Russian Railways (RZhD) Vladimir Yakunin, and
  • Head of Administration Vladimir Kozhin.

The list further singled out four men the Treasury Department referred to as “the Inner Circle”. They were:

  • Gunvor founder Gennady Timchenko;
  • Bank Rossiya shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk;
  • Oligarch Arkady Rotenberg, and
  • Oligarch Boris Rotenberg.

The Wall Street Journal profiled those targeted here. The Europeans released their own expanded list the following day, bringing their list total to 33.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin;
  • Presidential Adviser Sergei Glaziev;
  • Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov;
  • Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin;
  • Head of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko;
  • Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina;
  • Head of the Russian Federal State news agency “Rossiya Segodnya” Dmitry Kiselyov;
  • Commander of the Russian forces in Crimea Lt. Gen. Igor Turchenyuk;
  • Deputy-Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Rear-Admiral Alexander Mihailovich Nosatov;
  • Deputy-Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Rear-Admiral Valery Vladimirovich Kulikov.

The US released another round of sanctions on 28 April 2014 against 7 individuals they branded ‘Members of the Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle’.

  • Russia’s Presidential Envoy to Crimea Oleg Belavantsev;
  • Rostec Director General Sergei Chemezov;
  • Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak;
  • Head and Director of the Federal Protective Service Evgeniy Murov;
  • Duma Deputy Aleksei Pushkov;
  • Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin; and
  • First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin.

The European Union followed with their own expanded list a day later. That list included:

  • Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak,
  • General Valery Gerasimov, the head of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and
  • Lyudmila Shvetsova, vice speaker of the State Duma.

On 12 May, the EU expanded their list yet again, but only added 3 Russians:

  • First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin,
  • Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Airborne Troops Vladimir Shamanov, and
  • Duma Deputy Vladimir Pligin

In the wake of the Malaysian Airlines tragedy, the United States released another round of sanctions against Russia. This was focused more on companies, but did include 3 Russian officials:

  • Duma Deputy Sergei Neverov,
  • Minister for Crimean Affairs Oleg Savelyev, and
  • Presidential Aide Igor Shchegolyev

Ten days later, the European Union listed 15 individuals, and promised that more would be forthcoming.

  • Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov;
  • Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) director Mikhail Fradkov;
  • Federal Security Service (FSB) director Aleksandr Bortnikov;
  • Pavel Gubarev, self-described leader of the so-called Republic of Donetsk;
  • Sergei Beseda, who is responsible for FSB’s intelligence operations and international activity;
  • The governor of Russia’s Krasnodar region, Aleksandr Tkachyov;
  • Russia’s Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev;
  • Security Council member Rashid Nurgaliev;
  • Security Council member Boris Gryzlov; and
  • State Duma member Mikhail Degtyarev.

True to their promise, the EU list was expanded again 30 July.

  • Oligarch Arkady Rotenberg,
  • Bank Rossiya shareholder Yury Kovalchuk,
  • Bank Rossiya shareholder Nikolai Shamalov,
  • First deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Administration Aleksei Gromov.

EDIT: As I was writing this, the European Union added 5 institutions to its sanctions list. They include German Gref’s Sberbank, though not Gref himself.

sanctions
Visual of overlap between EU & US sanctions on individuals. Click for full-size.

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