There are sanctions critics who believe that inflicting economic hardship on a country might have unexpected repercussions. At a time when sanctions are in the spotlight more than ever, the history of US sanctions on Russia in a visualized manner is something worth taking a look at.
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How should countries respond to instances of foreign aggression if a direct military clash is not an option?
Sanctioning is one strategy, which imposes financial constraints on a country’s government, corporations, and sometimes even individual residents. These consequences, in theory, have enough strength to deter additional aggression.
The United States currently has more sanctions in place than any other nation, with one of the most comprehensive systems focused at Russia. Marcus Lu of Visual Capitalist developed an overview of these sanctions utilizing information from the Congressional Research Service (read below) and the United States Treasury to learn more.
Sanctions by Catalyst Event
After a President issues an executive order (EO) declaring a national emergency, sanctions are frequently imposed. This grants unique authority to control trade with an aggressor country.
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Our starting point will be Russia’s incursion of Ukraine in 2014, as this is the source of the majority of current sanctions.
Catalyst: 2014 Ukraine Invasion
Russia took Crimea from Ukraine on March 18, 2014. The United States and its allies protested this, prompting them to implement broad sanctions. The following is a list of President Obama’s executive orders.
In total, 480 entities (including enterprises and government agencies), 253 individuals, 7 vessels, and 3 aircraft are affected by these sanctions.
Sanctions targeting ships and planes may sound strange, but sanctioned entities frequently own these assets. In February 2022, for instance, France confiscated a cargo ship owned by a sanctioned Russian bank.
Catalyst: U.S. Election Interference
Russia has been sanctioned by the Obama, Trump, and Biden governments for its harmful cyber actions.
These sanctions impact a total of 106 entities, 136 individuals, six planes, and two vessels. The Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian firm known for its online influence efforts, is a key target.
Prior to the 2016 presidential election, 3,000 IRA-sponsored Facebook ads reached up to 10 million Americans. In the months leading up to the 2020 election, the problem became even worse, with 140 million Americans being subjected to misinformation on a monthly basis.
Catalyst: Various Geopolitical Dealings
Various sanctions are in place in the United States to combat Russian interference in Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea.
Sanctions have been imposed on 23 businesses, 17 persons, and 7 vessels. Rosoboronexport, a state-owned arms exporter that was sanctioned for supplying the Syrian government, is one of the specific businesses mentioned.
Syria’s government was liable for the killings of 156,329 individuals (civilians and fighters) in the civil conflict as of December 2020.
Catalyst: Chemical Poisonings of Individuals
In recent years, the Russian administration has been charged of poisoning two people.
Sergei Skripal, an ex Russian intelligence officer who was reportedly poisoned on British soil in March 2018, was the first event. The second, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was allegedly poisoned in August 2020.
Sanctions against foreign states that employ chemical weapons are allowed under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act). As a result of the two cases, nine people and five businesses have been sanctioned.
Catalyst: 2022 Ukraine Invasion
In reaction to Russia’s current incursion of Ukraine, the US has imposed a slew of new sanctions.
EO 14024, published in February 2022, is directed at Russia’s main financial institutions and subsidiaries (83 entities in total). Sberbank and VTB Bank, the country’s two major banks, are on this list. They control more than half of the financial assets in Russia.
Thirteen commercial and state-owned firms that are deemed essential to the Russian economy are also targeted. Rostelecom, Russia’s leading online services provider, and Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond mining corporation, are among the 13 companies.
Do Sanctions Work?
Although there have been triumphs in the past, demonstrating that a sanction was entirely accountable for an event is challenging. Many people agree, for example, that sanctions were crucial in bringing Libya’s weapons of mass destruction programs to a stop.
Sanctions critics believe that inflicting economic hardship on a country might have unexpected repercussions. One of these is a move away from the financial system of the United States.
In other words, sanctions will have an influence as long as the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency.
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