Offbeat The Kremlin Is Quaking as New Sanctions Multiply

13:46  10 august  2018
13:46  10 august  2018 Source:   thedailybeast.com

‘Crushing’ Russia Sanctions Sought in Bipartisan Senate Bill

  ‘Crushing’ Russia Sanctions Sought in Bipartisan Senate Bill A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia for interfering in U.S. elections, including penalties affecting Russian sovereign debt and energy projects, and requiring a report on President Vladimir Putin’s assets and net worth. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement Thursday the senators’ goal is to "impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the U.S. electoral process," stops cyberattacks and removes Russia from Ukraine.The measure comes after reports of Russia’s ongoing efforts to sway U.S.

The Kremlin spokesman called the intention of the United States to impose new sanctions on Russia an "absolutely unfriendly" move, which comes contrary to the recent meeting between Russian and US presidents in Helsinki.

Together, these materials became known as the Kremlin Report, and they were intended to provide the basis for a possible new set of sanctions to punish Russia for election meddling and continued interference in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin wearing a suit and tie: Pavel Golovkin/Reuters © Provided by The Daily Beast Pavel Golovkin/Reuters

MOSCOW—Grim predictions for the future of Russia’s economy swept over Moscow this week like shock waves.

The announcement by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday that it would impose new sanctions because of Moscow’s alleged attempt to murder an ex-spy in Britain with the chemical weapon novichok is only the latest trauma.

Russian papers, talk shows, and officials already were obsessing over the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act” proposed in the U.S. Senate by Republicans as well as Democrats. Aiming to punish Russia for alleged meddling in U.S. elections and deter it in the future, the bill promised to ban major Russian banks, freeze operations by Russian gas and oil companies, shut down Russian botnets, and investigate President Vladimir Putin’s personal wealth, among other measures.

Nikki Haley accuses Russia of violating sanctions with North Korean work permits

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9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. decision to impose new sanctions on Russia is an unfriendly move and inconsistent with the constructive atmosphere created after the recent Putin-Trump meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

The Kremlin slammed the sanctions . Rusal, which produces about 7% of the world's aluminium, said it regretted its inclusion on the new US sanctions list. 'Expect strong Lombok quake aftershocks'.

The ruble plunged:  it is now 66.5 to the dollar, the worst rate since 2016. Fear of massive new sanctions caused Aeroflot shares to drop by 11.4 percent and other stocks to take a nosedive, although by Thursday evening the market recovered its losses.  Meanwhile the public approval rating of Putin’s foreign policy continues to melt down, sliding into the teens.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Yevgeny Gantmakher, one of Russia’s leading economists, said there is a certain predictability about the Russian president’s reaction: “Over the last 18 years we have learned one thing about Putin: he does not bend under pressure.”

Speaking metaphorically, the economist suggested Putin will behave like a one of the barons of old pulling back into his fortress: “His strategy for the next six years is to withdraw into his besieged castle, concentrate as much money inside the castle as he can extract from pensioners, big business, anybody—and give out ‘water and food’ in rations, watching how far he can push his strategy. My guess is that rations will be different for different people.”

Trump warns countries against doing business with Iran

  Trump warns countries against doing business with Iran Donald Trump has warned that countries doing business with Iran would "NOT be doing business" with the US as his administration reimposed sanctions on Tuesday.In an early morning tweet, Trump described the measures as "the most biting sanctions ever" and warned they would "ratchet up to yet another level" in November, when US sanctions on Iranian oil will be reimposed.

The Kremlin is closely studying the impact on Russian markets of sanctions imposed by the US on Friday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

MOSCOW — The Trump administration managed the unusual feat this week of outraging both Russia’s leaders in Moscow and Russia’s biggest critics in Washington with its handling of a new law intended to punish the Kremlin for interference in the 2016 American elections.

Gantmakher is a member of the Russian Committee of Civic Initiatives which for years, led by its chairman, ex-minister of finance Alexei Kudrin, has been advising the Kremlin to reform the Russian economy, to respect the Russian constitution, to create independent, transparent institutions, fight corruption, and use new technologies and innovations.

In the past year some small steps have been made in those directions: the Kremlin began to investigate high-profile officials for corruption in several of Russia’s regions. But there has been no sign of big reforms.

With oil prices dropping below $70 a barrel, and Russia still dependent on hydrocarbons for more than 50 percent of the government’s revenue, as well as about 16 percent of GDP, Putin needs serious technocratic expertise to budget funds and watch spending. But that’s not likely to happen. “Putin knows that America’s new sanctions will push him to change his policies but he is not interested in changing, in reforming Russia,” said Gantmakher. “He and his propaganda machine are focusing on mobilizing the country now against the enemy.” That is, the United States.

Daimler abandons Iran expansion plans as sanctions bite

  Daimler abandons Iran expansion plans as sanctions bite German car and truck manufacturer Daimler on Tuesday said it has dropped plans to expand its Iran business in reaction to renewed U.S. sanctions, which come into effect Tuesday. "We have ceased our already restricted activities in Iran in accordance with the applicable sanctions", Daimler told Reuters in a statement.In early 2016, Daimler established a joint venture with Iranian vehicle manufacturer and dealer Iran Khodro Co to make and distribute Mercedes-Benz trucks in the country.Daimler had planned to open a representative office in Teheran.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Actually Means ‘ Sanctions ’.

All this means that the sanctions hinder the Kremlin ’s ability to re-boost the economic growth. But in April, officials stopped attacking the West quite so aggressively, attempting a new and more congenial approach.

“This is the biggest intrigue we are witnessing in Russia: the Kremlin building its besieged castle, dragging the country to the Soviet past, while the society, used to economic freedoms, is rejecting the castle strategy, hoping to move forward.”

According to the Levada Center, an independent, non-governmental polling and research group, public support for Putin’s foreign policy has dropped from 22 percent in 2016 down to 16 percent this summer. At the same time, fewer and fewer Russians say they trust Putin: in March, 55 percent of Russians said that they thought the president trustworthy; in July only 37.9 percent felt that way.

In reaction to the Senate bill and the Novichok sanctions, Russia threatened to stop using the U.S. dollar. Russian MPs and diplomats made bitter statements, accusing London and Washington of ganging up on Moscow. “The Russian side will work on developing retaliatory measures,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday.

When Professor Gantmakher heard that, he just shook his head: “I don’t think Putin has much to respond with to the new American sanctions,” he said. “Even after his friends, oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, were punished by the U.S. sanctions, Russia did not respond.”

The present and proposed sanctions will kick in over a period of months. The real economic siege of Putin’s castle has only just begun.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

‘Trump Is Ours’: Kremlin Media Fears Democratic Victory in November Midterm Elections .
<p>During any other presidency, it would be highly unusual for the Russian media to be preoccupied with the American midterm elections, but in the time of Donald Trump, Russian politicians and pundits have taken a keen interest in the races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.</p>As the realization dawns on them that the Putin-friendly president cannot or will not lift past and future sanctions on the faltering Russian economy, as many had expected, they appear to be focusing their hopes—and fears—on the Hill.

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