How have sanctions impacted Russian/EU trade?
A new report from the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of International Governance (PSIG) challenges assumptions on sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The New Deterrent? International Sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine Crisis, which was commissioned by Rasmussen Global, employs methods developed by the Targeted Sanctions Consortium, alongside analysis of trade statistics and official interviews.
Dr Erica Moret, Senior Researcher at PSIG and Coordinator of the Geneva International Sanctions Network, was the report’s lead author: “Our findings show that economic costs suffered by EU member states does not correlate with political opposition to the measures. While Greece and Italy rank among those experiencing the lowest decline in export share to Russia relative to total exports outside the EU, they are among those most vocal in calling for the lifting of sanctions. Greek exports to Russia have actually increased in some industries.”
“In contrast, some of the strongest supporters of renewed sanctions — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — are among the countries suffering the sharpest decline in exports. This has been precipitated by Moscow’s retaliatory countermeasures on EU food imports, the drop in the global oil price and Russia’s subsequent recession.” The report adds that many of the costs incurred have been offset by the redirection of trade to new markets.
The international team of sanctions specialists also found that “EU and US sanctions have been effective in meeting stated policy aims on a number of levels, namely in signalling the consequences of violating international norms, constraining some of Russia’s political and military actions and raising the cost of Russian involvement in the Ukraine crisis”. They provide recommendations for improving the effectiveness of measures in place and explore scenarios for the coming years.
The report concludes that if sanctions were to be lifted in the absence of political concessions, considerable strain could be placed on EU unity. It could also compromise the international community’s ability to respond credibly and effectively to future threats through its use of sanctions, “which, for better or worse, have become the instrument of choice for many policymakers in recent years.”
The report is available for download here.