|22 March 2014
In response to Russia's annexation of Crimea the US and EU have introduced significant restrictive measures – visa and financial sanctions against the officials directly involved in decision making regarding the Crimea events and those who were creating economic and financial conditions and possibilities for making and implementing such decisions.
Putin's aggressive propaganda on TV has been tirelessly hammering into the heads of Russian citizens the allegations that these sanctions are against the Russian Federation, against Russia's people, that the West has declared a cold war with Russia. But anyone who reviews the real facts will come to an absolutely opposite conclusion – that all this is a primitive lie.
There are no sanctions against our country and its people. Nobody is going to introduce visa bans, freeze foreign bank accounts and seize property of Russian citizens, nobody is going to impose trade bans or cancel trade and financial contracts with ordinary (not Putin's) Russian companies. Russian citizens will as usual be able to travel to European and North American countries, but the introduction of the visa-free regime, the negotiations on which I initiated back in 2003, will be postponed till the change of the current regime. Our citizens will still have access to imported goods in Russian shops, but the ability to purchase them will be declining due to the absence of economic growth in the country, weakening of the national currency, growing prices and, therefore, the decrease in the purchasing power of the population.
But the truth is that the current regime headed by Putin, taking advantage of the temporary weakness of the new Ukrainian authorities, in violation of all principles of international law has de facto annexed by force a part of the territory of a neighbouring sovereign state, thus creating a serious threat to peace all over the European continent. This has become the most dangerous threat to European security since the Cold War.
The irony, or, better to say, the cynicism of the situation lies in the fact that the attempt to destroy the post-war world order is taken by the Russian Federation – a country which is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and which therefore, along with other members, has the global responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Moreover, there is also an element of treachery involved: this all is being done by the Russian Federation – a country, which is, in accordance with a treaty signed only 20 years ago with the US and UK, a direct guarantor of Ukraine's sovereignty and territory.
All in all, it is Putin's Russia who has declared a cold war with the West, deliberately carrying out an irresponsible, adventurist foreign policy.
Of course, it will be more correct to say that all these actions condemned by all the civilized world have been done not by Russia and its people, but by a quite definite small, but well-organized group of individuals who occupied their high-ranking state positions, to put it mildly, not quite legally. It is well known that the elections in December 2011 and March 2012 were neither free nor fair. Millions of Russian citizens know it. And now is has become clear that, shrugging off excessive pragmatism, all the civilized world also thinks the same.
Today it has also become obvious that, realizing the lack of the necessary legitimacy, Putin's regime is doing its best to associate itself with all Russia's people, to tie itself up to it and drag down all Russia into the abyss of self-isolation. It is indeed pleasing to note that today our European and American colleagues have finally realized that the Russian people, the Russian Federation and the Putin regime are two absolutely different and largely incompatible notions.
In view of all this it is, of course, fair, that the international sanctions against the aggressor are imposed not recklessly, not against the whole country and its people, but selectively against definite destroyers of peace and order and their accomplices. Therefore Russia's citizens have no reason to be afraid of the American and European sanctions, - they are against the violators of international law.
It should be noted that the sanctions will be quite effective. Apart from the ban on entry in EU states, the US and Canada, the individuals on the Crimea blacklist will also be unable to conduct financial operations in US dollars anywhere in the world, and their accounts in any foreign currencies as well as foreign property will be blocked. These assets cannot be subject to any transactions. Moreover, as practice shows, European banks tend to avoid working with individuals and companies that are under sanctions from the US government, since otherwise they are risking to get under restrictions themselves, thus losing business on the powerful American stock and dollar markets. So it is possible to assume that the individuals on the blacklist with their ancient ugly notions about the current world order are actually becoming outcasts in our 21st century.
These correctly aimed sanctions must have been like a cold shower for Putin and his team. These sanctions have finally shown that not everything in this world is for buying and selling. Universal fundamental values are still ruling! This means that in our country changes are also inevitable!
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