At the economic forum in St. Petersburg, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hoped for a “Frank” conversation with Putin. And former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the abolition of the EU sanctions against Russia, however, he is convinced that the first step is to make Moscow. Should Russia initiate the lifting of sanctions? We asked the experts.
photo: Gennady Cherkasov
Konstantin Babkin, President of the Russian Union of manufacturers of agricultural machinery: “I wouldn’t follow the advice of Sarkozy, because it is a process of mutual concessions. Russia has many times made concessions and received nothing in return, except for new claims. Such a unilateral lifting or easing of sanctions, a violation of its foreign trade policy will encourage our partners to strengthen the pressure, so to remove the sanctions with the EU is not necessary.“
Igor Nikolaev, the Professor of the Higher school of Economics: “In General it is wrong to specify who should make the first move for the lifting of sanctions. But if this idea still sounded, do not rule out that Russia could become the initiator. In particular, in respect of retaliatory sanctions that have caused more harm to the Russian economy than helped.
According to Rosstat, in 2015, exports fell by 31% and imports decreased by 36.4%. At first glance, it would seem that everything looks good: imports fall and domestic producers have an incentive. Yes, last year, the growth output of agriculture amounted to 3% compared with a year earlier. However, in 2014 it reached 3.5%, and in 2013 is 5.8 per cent. In other words, the figure was higher than after the introduction of retaliatory sanctions. No less significant pattern in the food industry — production growth in 2015 reached 2% in 2014 and 2.5%. So where is the beneficial effect of anti-sanctions? No impetus for accelerated production.
Nikita Isaev, the Director of the Institute of contemporary economies, a political scientist: “Sarkozy stated that Russia should lift sanctions first, “how big and strong country.” Flattery certainly many nice, but why Russia should unilaterally lift the sanctions, despite the fact that Europe is first introduced them – a logical question.
The lifting of sanctions on the economy of our country at the moment, the situation radically will not change. And that’s just for Europe, with its problems in the industry, the lifting of the sanctions can help and will be really beneficial.”
Mikhail Belyaev, chief economist of the Institute of stock market and management: “you Have to understand that the sanctions from the West were introduced not for the fact that they are so quick to cancel. The idea of the US administration, they are intended to inhibit the development of the Russian economy. You can talk about their abolition or to see for background. But seriously to believe that in the near future they can be overturned, is naive.
The restrictions have been in place for two years and during that time, the Russian economy was adapted. Only formed new rules of the game and the lifting of the sanctions they once again break”.
Pavel Sigal, the first Vice-President “Support of Russia”: “Sarkozy expresses popular in some circles in Europe, the view that the war of sanctions is necessary to finish. Now the circles that are interested in establishing relations with Russia are thinking how to get out of this situation without losing individuals for both sides. Apparently, in political circles, considering several possibilities of addressing this issue and the words of Sarkozy can be interpreted as an attempt to probe the opinion of the Russian elite. We now see some convergence between the Kremlin and the EU. The intensity of rhetoric has dropped, So now we discussed various options of waiver of sanctions and Sarkozy voiced one of the proposals. In the case of saymoumin sanctions Russia will again have access to cheap funding from the EU. We will see a sudden influx of investments into Russian assets, the growth of trade between Russia and the EU, and a General improvement in the investment climate. If the sanctions would be overturned by now, the GDP for the year could be out of negative territory.”
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