Many commentators in Russia and the West are suggesting that Moscow is panicking about the consequences of the new personal sanctions the US is planning to impose in early February and that this reaction may prompt the Kremlin to change course lest members of the elite mount a challenge to Vladimir Putin, Aleksandr Nemets says.
But the US-based Russian analyst says that despite the concerns of some members of the elite about these sanctions, the Kremlin itself is not panicking. Instead, it sees recent developments like the rising price of oil as more than compensating for the sanctions and the return of capital from abroad that the sanctions have sparked as helping it.
As a result, Nemets argues in a commentary on the Kasparov.ru portal, there is no reason to think that Putin will make any concessions. Indeed, the new sanctions might even prompt him to take a harder line, something he could justify in the eyes of many in Russia by placing the blame on the United States.
The Kremlin is “certain,” he says, that “’the February sanctions’” will not amount to as much as some fear, given the way in which it believes Donald Trump is being forced to impose them against his will and that the rising price for oil and other raw materials will allow it to compensate those who might otherwise feel the pain of any sanctions-related losses.
Therefore, “there is no panic in Moscow and Putin will not retreat on any point or suffer serious harm” from these sanctions. He won’t give in on the Donbas or talk about returning Crimea. He won’t pull out of Syria. And he won’t move away from his support covert and otherwise of the North Koreans and their nuclear program.
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