Sanciones internacionales

Hay que embargar los activos congelados rusos

Mientras la guerra de Rusia contra Ucrania sigue causando estragos tanto a escala regional como mundial, el pueblo ucraniano y sus aliados demuestran un coraje y determinación notables; pero a casi dos años de la invasión rusa a gran escala, queda cada vez más claro que la comunidad internacional puede ayudar mucho más… y debe hacerlo.

Aunque los países del G7 y otros gobiernos de todo el mundo se han mostrado extraordinariamente generosos en su apoyo a los esfuerzos de Ucrania durante la guerra, hay señales de una fatiga cada vez mayor en algunos círculos, algo que Rusia parece haber previsto.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Nov. 17. (Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AP)

Twenty months ago, after Vladimir Putin had launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many high-ranking Russians believed that the end was near. The economy faced disaster, as they saw it, and the Putin regime was on the brink of collapse.

Today, the mood has changed dramatically. Business leaders, officials and ordinary people tell me that the economy has stabilized, defying the Western sanctions that were once expected to have a devastating effect. Putin’s regime, they say, looks more stable than at any other time in the past two years.

Restaurants in Moscow are packed. “The restaurant market is growing, not only in Moscow, but throughout Russia, facilitated by the development of domestic tourism”, says a top Russian restaurateur.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visiting an Iranian aerospace industry exhibition in Tehran, September 2023. Russian Defence Ministry / Reuters

At first glance, the war against Ukraine appears to be a disaster for Russia. With most of its soldiers tied up fighting Kyiv’s forces, Moscow is struggling to station troops abroad. Russia has also had to redeploy to Europe some weapons and military systems it had positioned in Asia and the Middle East. And Moscow’s military sales, already in decline, are now in greater peril. Sanctions have deterred traditional Russian clients from continuing with their purchases, and Russia’s poor military performance has dampened enthusiasm among prospective ones.

These constraints and problems are real. But if Western officials believe, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in June, that the war in Ukraine is “greatly diminishing Russia’s power, its interests, and its influence”, they should think again: Russia still has significant international sway.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers load aid supplies into a military plane bound for Port Sudan at the Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates on May 10. MOHAMAD ALI HARISSI/AFP via Getty Images

In September, the United States imposed sanctions on senior leaders of the Wagner Group-backed Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has been fighting the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) since violence erupted in Khartoum on April 15. The State Department announced visa restrictions on Gen. Abdul Rahman Juma, the RSF’s West Darfur commander, citing his involvement in human rights violations.

Similarly, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Gen. Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, the brother of RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagalo and a deputy leader of the RSF, for the paramilitary group’s role in human rights violations and ethnic killings in Sudan. While these steps suggest a shift in U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las sanciones a Rusia están funcionando

A los pocos días de la invasión a gran escala de Ucrania por parte del presidente ruso Vladimir Putin hace 18 meses, Occidente impuso sanciones sin precedentes al Banco Central de Rusia, congelando cientos de miles de millones de dólares de sus activos. El rublo se desplomó, alcanzando un mínimo histórico de 136 por dólar estadounidense una semana después de la invasión. Pero después de que el Banco Central impusiera controles de divisas y capitales, el rublo se recuperó y se fortaleció hasta 51,5 libras esterlinas por dólar, una recuperación que el Kremlin promocionó con entusiasmo.

Los líderes de Rusia tienen menos que celebrar hoy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week The Economist cautioned about how to use Russian assets to help Ukraine. We appreciate the invitation to make the case for what we believe can and should be done. Two of us are lawyers. Each of us has worked on problems of international law and knows the arguments in this case. We know that, as the Ukraine war wears on, the outcome may be determined by the balance of hope or despair as well as on the battlefield. The Ukrainian economy is in the intensive-care unit. But we face a unique circumstance. As Russia launched the largest act of international aggression since the second world war, it left enormous sums, at least $300bn-worth of dollars, euros, sterling and yen, in the law-abiding states that oppose this aggression.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente chino, Xi Jinping (derecha), recibe al canciller alemán, Olaf Scholz, en noviembre de 2022 en Pekín.DPA vía Europa Press (DPA vía Europa Press)

En Ucrania y en torno a ella se libran dos guerras: la que se desarrolla sobre el terreno, y la más grande, que enfrenta a Oriente y Occidente. Un posible escenario es que Ucrania y sus aliados occidentales ganen la primera contra Rusia, y que China salga victoriosa de la segunda, de mayor alcance: la creación de una alianza de países liderada por el gigante asiático, poderosa militarmente, sofisticada técnicamente y próspera económicamente, cuyos miembros se definan a sí mismos por oposición a los valores occidentales. El presidente Xi Jinping declaró al final de su reciente visita a Moscú: “Se están produciendo cambios que no se habían producido en 100 años.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairing a meeting, Moscow, April 2023. Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev / Kremlin

On March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, many observers saw it as a significant step in the West’s efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. But although the action against Putin is new, the effort to target individual members of Russia’s governing elite has a long history. Since the early days of the 2022 invasion, the West has enforced sanctions against specific Russian leaders, alongside its sweeping package of sanctions against the Russian economy. In fact, this was an extension of an approach that the United States and its allies have pursued against Russian elites for many years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Unloading cargo from China near Vladivostok, Russia, April 2023. Tatiana Meel / Reuters

Since 2014, when Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its illegal annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin has claimed that Russian companies are looking to China in search of opportunity. That pivot eastward has taken on greater urgency since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Last year, two bridges opened across the Amur River, which marks the border between Russia and China. And at a meeting in March 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to deepen economic cooperation as part of their “no limits” partnership.

But just how big a helping hand has China really offered Russia since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine?…  Seguir leyendo »

President Vladimir Putin boasts about the strength of the Russian economy in the face of Western sanctions, citing estimates by international financial institutions that Russian GDP shrank only modestly in 2022. The Russian leader’s bullishness is hardly surprising, and he is not alone: it is a widely held view that the sanctions imposed on his regime have had little economic impact.

A recent overview of the Russian economy by the Re: Russia Project, a network of experts, challenges this thesis. The report, prepared by a group of economists including former top figures from Russia’s finance ministry and central bank, a professor at the University of California and myself, finds that sanctions have indeed had a big effect: they have led to capital outflows from Russia equivalent to 12% of its GDP.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Iranian woman at a market, Tehran, May 2022. Majid Asgaripour / West Asia News Agency / Reuters

The deeply suspicious death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini in September 2022—which came after she was arrested and allegedly beaten by the morality police—was a pivotal moment for the people of Iran. The incident unleashed a wave of outrage that fueled protests throughout the country. The demonstrations were remarkable for displays of bravery, especially from Iranian women, as well as for the solidarity shown across ethnic and class lines. In the first few weeks, protesters snarled traffic and shut down university campuses in dozens of cities. Many observers believed the demonstrations were even the initial stages of a revolution.

But after more than seven months, the Islamic Republic still stands.…  Seguir leyendo »

A general view of a wheat field in Mariupol, Ukraine on 31 July 2022, as Russia-Ukraine war continues. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Russia’s involvement in smuggling wheat out of the occupied regions or territories of Ukraine has been widely reported over the past year. In response, the US issued sanctions in September 2022 against Russian proxy officials involved in the theft of Ukrainian grain. While these targeted measures have managed to steer many countries in the Middle East and Africa away from buying the stolen wheat, Syria has become one of its primary destinations.

Due to the sanctions already imposed on both Russia and Syria they do not have many alternative trading partners and are also less concerned about any additional consequences they may face as a result of their cooperation.…  Seguir leyendo »

A view of Gazprom Neft's oil refinery in Omsk, Russia, November 2022. Alexey Malgavko / Reuters

Over the past decade, economic sanctions emerged as Washington’s preferred policy tool to deal with a range of concerns, from adversarial governments in Iran and Venezuela to international drug trafficking. Sanctions became popular because officials saw them as a low-cost tool that could hurt the United States’ foes. The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Iran agreed to after years of devastating sanctions, seemed to vindicate policymakers’ view that sanctions could force adversaries into strategic concessions. Under U.S. President Donald Trump, renewed sanctions against Iran and sanctions targeting Venezuela were widely seen as effective in debilitating those countries’ economies.

Against this backdrop, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Western response was immediate: the United States and its allies slammed Russia with a raft of sanctions and other economic restrictions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Break the Chain Between Russian Oligarchs and Managers, and You Break Everything

Russian oligarchs were hit with sanctions last year in an effort to cut off Vladimir Putin’s overseas lieutenants from their vast offshore wealth — an estimated 60 percent of their net worth. Mega-yachts, private jets and luxury villas were seized, sometimes with news cameras rolling. Yet for all that drama, much of the oligarchs’ money was quietly moved to safer havens.

Russian oligarchs have even evaded sanctions on the home turf of one of the leading countries penalizing them — specifically, in a striking display of impunity, by investing in U.S. real estate. The Justice Department recently announced that Viktor Vekselberg — who cultivated Western leaders on behalf of Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 15th the European Union will decide whether to prolong sanctions against Russian individuals. It is a good moment to take stock of their effectiveness. Last month in his state-of-the-nation address, Vladimir Putin made a lengthy appeal to the country’s fugitive businessmen and oligarchs. Most of them are under Western sanctions, their assets frozen. He sounded uncharacteristically sympathetic.

“I want those who have encountered the wolfish habits of the West to hear me: trying to run around with your hand outstretched, grovelling, begging for your money, is pointless and, most importantly, useless, especially now that you are well aware of who you are dealing with.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente norteamericano, Joe Biden, merece todo el reconocimiento que recibió por su reciente viaje a Ucrania y a Polonia con motivo del primer aniversario de la invasión a plena escala de Rusia. El viaje en tren de diez horas de Biden desde la frontera polaca hasta Kiev -que no es poca cosa, tratándose de un líder octogenario- hizo fracasar por completo los planes propagandísticos del presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, para la ocasión. Fue un gran día para Ucrania, Estados Unidos y sus aliados de la OTAN.

Pero cuando Biden dijo, durante un discurso en el Castillo Real en Varsovia, que las sanciones actuales a Rusia representan “el mayor régimen de sanciones alguna vez impuesto a algún país en la historia”, su declaración, aunque precisa, fue totalmente engañosa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Currency exchange rates, Saint Petersburg, Russia, February 2022. Anton Vaganov / Reuters / Foreign Affairs illustration

In his 2022 State of the Union address, delivered less than a week after the invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden touted the “powerful economic sanctions” that the West had imposed on Russia, measures that had instantly crushed the ruble and laid waste to the Moscow stock exchange. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden warned, “has no idea what’s coming”.

This year, by contrast, Biden did not even mention sanctions in his State of the Union speech. His silence was understandable. After edging toward the brink of collapse, Russia’s financial system stabilized. ATM lines dissipated, and the ruble bounced back. The biggest Russian banks lost access to SWIFT, the financial messaging system, and Visa and MasterCard pulled out of the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

An aerial view shows the destroyed buildings in the rebel-held town of Jindayris, Syria, on Thursday, three days after a deadly earthquake. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the devastating series of earthquakes that struck southern Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, the Syrian regime has re-energized its calls for lifting sanctions leveled against it. Syrian government spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban told Sky News that if the United States and the European Union lift sanctions, then “the Syrian people will be able to take care of their country”. A number of well-meaning civil society and religious groups have also made similar pleas.

The U.S. State Department has thus far rightly dismissed such calls. But as the full scope of the destruction and human suffering comes into focus, expect these calls to intensify.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sanctions Against Russia Ignore the Economic Challenges Facing Ukraine

​​In December 2021, President Biden warned President Vladimir Putin of Russia that any incursion into Ukrainian territory would entail “economic consequences like none he has ever seen”. America and its European allies followed through on this threat with the largest scale economic sanctions effort in recent history.

One year later, the Russian economy has weathered the shock much better than expected.

In March 2022, the Institute of International Finance forecast that the Russian economy would contract by 15 percent by year’s end. Yet, over the last year, the Russian economy appears to have shrunk by a considerably lower amount, slightly more than 3 percent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las sanciones unilaterales son ilegales, inconvenientes e inmorales

A raíz de la invasión de Rusia a Ucrania en el mundo se ha hecho más visible y generalizada la práctica internacional de algunos países o grupos de utilizar la imposición de sanciones unilaterales como arma de retaliación o constreñimiento contra personas, Estados y países. Esta forma agresiva de responder a supuestas o reales amenazas internacionales puede adoptar distintas formas, como restricciones económicas al comercio y la inversión, sanciones a funcionarios públicos con la cancelación o suspensión de sus visados, decertificaciones (desaprobaciones) de gobiernos por políticas públicas “deficientes” en materias sensibles como los derechos humanos, la protección del medio ambiente, el combate al terrorismo o la lucha contra las drogas.…  Seguir leyendo »