More EU sanctionsMay 10, 2014
As matters in Ukraine worsen, the EU will tomorrow expand its sanctions to yet more of the Russian elite in response to on-going Kremlin subversion in Ukraine.
“In my opinion on Monday the latest strengthening of personal sanctions will come into effect. Those are not the most painful, the third level of sanctions is reserved in case a Russian intervention in Ukraine is proven beyond doubt.” – European Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.
Really – “proven beyond doubt“? So the EU is sanctioning the Russian hierarchy on mere suspicion that Russia may somehow, perhaps, possibly, it is rumoured, have some involvement? That is what EU foreign policy is based upon? Seriously? Nothing more substantial?
Perhaps some of my MEP readers once reelected can start a rumour that this blog is worth a grant of €20,000 a year?
Regardless, more sanctions will of course make no difference. The supposed $220 billion capital flight from Russia thus far has made no difference.
The Europeans will be pleased to see that their “financial war experiment” does produce results – but let us be frank, even if the ECB claims of $220 billion capital flight thus far this year is in any way accurate, it has changed nothing as far as the situation on the ground is concerned for Ukraine, nor has it in any way changed the current Kremlin thinking.
The Kremlin has created a new President Putin commemorative coin called “Gather of Russian Lands” – perhaps that too will become capital flight from Russia?
Of course the EU is a Hydra with several Kremlin friendly/reliant heads – thus serious and truly swift striking economic crippling sanctions, not matter what the bluster emanating from the bowels of Brussels may say, are unlikely to ever become a reality – but it has to been seen to be doing something, no matter how ineffective, when it comes to tangible changes of attitudes within the Kremlin toward Ukraine.
Indeed many will argue a spectacularly weak response to such events that surround Crimea and the challenges that alone presents to international law, geopolitical order and regional security is a catastrophic fail in and of itself – regardless of what is yet to come.
If President Putin abruptly changes course now, it will expedite the end of what has been called “Putinism”, the current Kremlin leadership structure and of course his leadership of the Russian nation. Whilst that may well raise a cheer amongst many European and international capitals, the obvious question is then what?
The question of succession is already a difficult one for Mr Putin even if currently he has the chance to choose – but who to choose? There is no obvious candidate, but I have little doubt that the Russian liberals will not be next to occupy the seat of power when and however Mr Putin leaves office.
Therefore they are likely to pursue the same policies. That means that foreign policy will continue to be used to both shape and distract from domestic policy failures.
Thus tomorrow’s EU sanctions will have no effect on Kremlin policy. A few $billion more in capital flight? That changes nothing for Ukraine tomorrow, next week, next month or even by the year end – and how much of Ukraine will be left by the year end to help?