Voices from Russia

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Two-Thirds of Russians Felt No Impact of Western Sanctions

00 Russian food market. 27.12.14


According to poll results released on Wednesday, most Russians polled by the all-Russia Public Opinion Centre (VTsIOM) (67 percent) felt no impact of anti-Russian sanctions whilst 24 percent of respondents said the restrictions affected their financial position. In its report, VTsIOM said:

The respondents assessed more unambiguously the impact of Western sanctions on their family’s financial position… 67 percent of them didn’t feel their effect. However, there can be clearly seen the share of those who spoke about negative implications… 24 percent across the sample (reaching 36 percent in respondents who assessed their financial position as low).

As the poll suggests, Russians are divided on the benefit or the harm of the sanctions for the Russian economy… 34 percent of those polled believe that sanctions had a beneficial effect compared to 30 percent of the respondents who held the opposite opinion whilst 20 percent of respondents saw no impact of sanctions on our economic development. Responding to a question about positive consequences of the sanctions, Russians noted a boost in the country’s economic development (50 percent) and import substitution (20 percent). Amongst negative implications, respondents singled out growth of prices and taxes (22 percent) and economic decline (9 percent). Generally, the issue of sanctions remains topical for Russians… 57 percent of those polled paid attention to it. In reply to a question about Russian counter-sanctions, 73 percent of respondents said that they supported an unyielding foreign policy without concessions to the West whilst 17 percent of those polled disagreed with that. Most respondents (78 percent) believed that Western countries suffer more from anti-Russian sanctions. Commenting on the poll results, VTsIOM head Valery Fyodorov said:

Almost four years after their imposition, anti-Russian sanctions don’t cause any special fear. Moreover, a considerable part of our respondents sees mostly positive economic consequences in them. Nevertheless, every fourth respondent sees negative implications from the sanctions for their own well-being and for the well-being of their close relatives.

The poll was on 10-11 June 2018. The error margin is 2.5 percent with a 95 percent probability.

In 2014, the EU and the USA imposed sanctions on Russia over developments in the Ukraine and Crimean reintegration with Russia and often broadened and extended them. The EU suspended talks on visa-free travel and a new basic cooperation agreement, imposed a ban on entry to the EU for officials from Russia, and froze their assets, as well as introducing restrictions in the trade, financial, and military spheres. Overall, the EU blacklisted 151 individuals and 37 companies. It imposed sanctions against 20 Russian financial, energy, and defence structures. In addition, the USA imposed a ban on the export of US goods, technologies, and services to the Crimea. It also banned US investments in the Crimea.

20 June 2018




Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Russian Billionaire Abramovich Gets Israeli Passport Amidst UK Visa Issue



Increasingly, the oligarchs are either fleeing to the West or adapting to increasing control by the state. First, it was Berezovsky. Then, it was Khodorkovsky. Now, it’s Abramovich. Russia is turning up the heat on the looters of the Nasty Nineties. I feel no compassion for these bloodsuckers. They stashed a lot of boodle in the West. They won’t suffer. Slowly, but surely, Russia is turning its back on that noisome decade. It won’t return to the USSR as it was, but it won’t return to the Nasty Nineties, either. A new synthesis is arising; it’ll take some time to show its true outlines. However, I’ll confide that it’d embody the best of the USSR, the Empire, and Old Russia. It’s all ours… or none of it is ours.



The move came after Abramovich failed to extend his UK visa amidst Moscow-London diplomatic tensions. On Monday, The Times of Israel reported that Russian billionaire and owner of the British Football Club Chelsea R A Abramovich obtained Israeli citizenship. According to the Times, he arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv earlier in the day and got an Israeli passport under the Law of Return due to his Jewish ethnicity. As reported by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Abramovich already opened a bank account in Israel. Previously, media reports stated that his decision to immigrate to Israel came amidst the diplomatic conflict between Moscow and London, a result of which being that he couldn’t extend his UK visa. His previous visa reportedly expired in April, when he was outside of Britain. Reportedly, his application for an extension is under consideration.

Last week, the UK House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee issued a report “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”, in which it called on the UK government to boost sanctions against people close to the Kremlin, as well as those responsible for human rights violations. The committee also asked the UK government to work with the USA, the EU, and the G7 countries to tighten the sanctions regime on Russian sovereign debt. On Wednesday, in response, Ministry of Foreign Affairs source M V Zakharova said that the UK campaign against alleged Russian corruption in Britain looks laughable since London has long attracted foreign funds regardless of their origin and refuses to extradite criminals charged in Russia with corruption.

Over the last couple of months, after the alleged poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yuliya with a deadly nerve agent, UK-Russian relations became increasingly strained. Both Skripals are out of hospital. The UK blamed Moscow for the attack and decided to expel Russian diplomats as a response. Russian officials strongly denied any involvement in the case.

28 May 2018

Sputnik International


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

RF Gosduma Passes Law Imposing Counter-Sanctions Against the USA and Unfriendly States


The RF Gosduma passed the final third reading of a law on counter-sanctions against the USA and other unfriendly states. The law stipulates that the Russian President could provide the government with the right to impose restrictions, provided they don’t apply to vital supplies without analogues produced in Russia or other countries. The President could make decisions on sanctions based on proposals submitted by the Security Council. At the same time, the government could remove these restrictions in case the situation causing the introduction of sanctions should change. The document read:

The federal law aims to protect the interests and safety of Russia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, from unfriendly actions by the USA and other states, which may take the form of political and economic sanctions on Russia, Russian citizens, and legal entities, as well as from other actions posing a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity and aimed at destabilising the economic and political situation in the country.

A group of lawmakers led by RF Gosduma Chairman V V Volodin initiated the proposal.

The second reading of the bill omitted a reference to specific industries, goods, and services, and reduced the list of possible actions from 16 to six. Russia could impose counter-sanctions on unfriendly countries, organisations under their jurisdiction, whether directly or indirectly controlled by those countries or affiliated with them, as well as on those countries’ officials and citizens. Companies from the USA and other unfriendly states, and those controlled by or affiliated with them, couldn’t take part in contracts for government purchases or for the privatisation of state property. The Russian cabinet would have the right to halt cooperation with unfriendly states, and with organisations controlled by or affiliated with them. The government could also ban and limit the export of goods and raw materials from the USA and other unfriendly states. However, restrictions wouldn’t apply to goods that Russian and foreign citizens bring from abroad for personal use. The law would take effect on the day of its official publication.

22 May 2018



Sunday, 22 April 2018

22 April 2018. It’s Still the Island of Freedom


It’s interesting to note that al-Jazeera ran a critical piece on the new Cuban President, an attack piece on Nicaragua, and outright lies on Hungary. By the way, it doesn’t report on Honduras, where there’s open American interference in the local politics. Although it often posts good material, this site is often a lapdog for US foreign policy… don’t forget, American troops occupy Bahrain and they could topple its ruling kleptocratic régime in a heartbeat. Have a care with this source.

The new Cuban President is its first leader born after the Revolution (1960), which means that he’s lived all his life in socialist Cuba and knows that it can survive American economic and political pressure. He’s the son of a worker and a schoolteacher, which means that he didn’t grow up in privilege. He’s worthy of our support.


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