On the Strategic Effects of Unilateral Sanctions: Russian Experience
Authors: Anastasia B. Likhacheva
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Much of the academic debate about the consequences of sanctions has been focused on their direct impact or on collateral damage to the bilateral relationship between the issuer of sanctions and the target of sanctions, reflecting the understanding of sanctions as a foreign policy tool. However, an analysis of the Russian experience allows one to raise new questions about the role of sanctions instruments in international affairs. Of course, in the short term, the priority is a policy aimed at
minimizing the risks of direct sanctions. Nevertheless, Russia has been under extensive US and EU sanctions for more than seven years, and began to face individual restrictions even earlier. In this regard, the analysis of sanctions reactions can clearly be transferred to the mid- and long-term plane. The analysis of the regulatory legal acts and particular regional and sectoral strategies of Moscow shows that the target countries have been rearranging their international priorities under the threat of
further sanctions pressure, both formal and informal. Thus, sanctions are serving not only as a tool of punishment or deterrence, but also as a signaling function in a new meaning — not only demonstrating disapproval of the target country’s policy, but signaling that the planning of long-term development
projects is associated with increased risks. Therefore, the complex consequences of sanctions go far beyond the immediate response of the target countries, which is reflected in the industry overview of Russian sanctions pressure adaptation strategies. A particular example of such a transformation,
considered in this article, is the sanctions policy in the post-Soviet space—both on the part of individual countries of the region in relation to Russia, and in terms of countermeasures on the part of the Russian Federation.