Why has Russia taken so long to retaliate against Western sanctions? One possibility is it’s because Putin and his team didn’t see the need to do all that much immediately given economic blowback. A second is that they wanted to wait for the gas for roubles arm wrestling to play out before applying new pressure. Third is they do have a war and internal restructuring going on, so economic counterattacks are lower on the priority list. Fourth is Russia wasn’t yet ready to make a negotiated settlement to the war on the ground impossible, despite that Lavrov snorted at the idea that Zelensky would stick to any position for as long as a day.
Regardless, Putin’s executive order, which we have embedded below, sets up an initial framework for what we like to call sanctions. Putin pointedly calls them “retaliatory special economic measures”. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but Russia and China both take the view that economic sanctions are illegal unless approved by the UN, which clearly is not happening here. When I come across an explanation of how Russia thinks it has threaded this particular legal needle, I’ll be sure to make mention in Links or a post.
It directs his staff to come back in ten days with initial targets, which at this point are only individuals, and suggestions as to