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The link between Russia’s military and sanctions

Kimberly Adams Nov 26, 2015
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Russia is considering several kinds of economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for Turkish forces shooting down a Russian jet this week. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told government leaders to have suggestions for sanctions on his desk in two days.

French president Francois Hollande arrived in Russia Thursday to push for more coordination in the fight against ISIS. Like much of Europe and the U.S., France has active sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

Putin is taking advantage of thawing military relations with the west over ISIS, said Alya Gusevaan economic sociologist at Boston University.

“I think he’s calculating that his new alliance with, at least France at this point, will somehow change the balance in his favor [on sanctions],” said Guseva. Russian markets reacted positively after Russia and France announced increased coordination.

“People are thinking that Russia’s less of a villain than it was,” said Barry Ickes, head of the economics department at Penn State, “and that this could lead to some relaxation of sanctions.”

But Ickes said that’s unlikely to happen until the terms of the a peace deal on Ukraine are met. France’s Ambassador to the U.S. tweeted this week the sanctions would stay in place for now, and several other European leaders indicated at a recent G-20 meeting their plans to extend sanctions another six months once they expire in January.

Kimberly Marten, a Russia expert at Columbia University, said there isn’t much indication Putin is facing a lot of pressure in Russia for an immediate end to the sanctions.

“All the indications we have from the Russian economists and business leaders,” said Marten,  “is that they now consider sanctions the new normal, and they are working around those sanctions.”

Plus, she said, low oil prices are much more of a drag on the Russian economy than the sanctions.

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