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Former Russian PM Tells Washington to Hit Putin with Sanctions Where It Hurts

Putin came to feel that “he got a special ticket issued by the West” that left him free to play with the former Soviet bloc.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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April 27, 2014 - 11:09 pm
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WASHINGTON – Mikhail Kasyanov, former Russian primer minister and minister of finance, said the West should ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin by expanding restrictions on travel and financial transactions against aides and business leaders with ties to Putin.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, Kasyanov said the United States and the European Union should also sanction all members of the Russian parliament who voted last month to support Putin’s annexation of Crimea and authorized Russian military operations in Ukraine.

“A few years ago we had some kind of deterioration of the international arena, too,” Kasyanov said. “Several times Mr. Putin stated that the newly established states – territories of the former Soviet Union – [did not] have full sovereignty and promised he would step in if something had to be changed there. In fact, it happened soon after the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest. A few months after Russian troops invaded the territory of Georgia – it was a real disaster, a lot of casualties.”

After Ukraine and Georgia sought to take preliminary steps in 2008 to join NATO, Putin sent troops into Georgia and seized the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Following Russia’s attack on Georgia, a weak U.S. and European response emboldened Putin, Kasyanov said.

Kasyanov, who currently serves as co-chair of an opposition group, the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party, said “business turned out to be as usual” between the West and Russia only a few months after the conflict.

In the following years, Western companies and governments continued to pursue business deals with Putin’s government. Kasyanov cited France’s agreement to build high-tech, Mistral-class warships for Russia’s navy.

“German companies…pressed their government to continue…getting profitable contracts,” he said.

Having in mind that the West is not consistent in implementing sanctions, Putin came to feel that “he got a special ticket issued by the West” that left him free to act as he wished in the former Soviet nations. “Mr. Putin understood that…the West is weak and that its leaders are cynical and only think about the elections, and he could do whatever he wanted,” Kasyanov said.

Realizing the lack of legitimacy inside the country, Putin has felt the need to draw this legitimacy from the outside, Kasyanov said.

“Initially, that was just…kissing and hugging sessions with Europeans and other world leaders, but these days it is a little different,” he said. Putin has convinced the Russian people of the threat of external enemies through “intense propaganda,” Kasyanov said.

He said Putin and his team were surprised by the West’s stronger reaction to his takeover of the Crimea.

Kasyanov urged the U.S. government to increase the list of sanctions on Russia, which have been “very effective.” He said the West should press Putin to call on the Russian-backed armed groups who have seized towns and local government buildings in eastern Ukraine “to immediately hand over [their] weapons” in accord with the international agreement reached in Geneva earlier this month.

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All Comments   (13)
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Russia needs Lebensraum.
Now you see why Stalin relocated many Russians to Ukraine, after starving to death millions of Ukrainians.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, this guy can expect some retaliation when he returns home.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does anyone really think Putin notices these pinprick sanctions? One of the many problems of the Obama administration is it thinks words are as important as actions. Word intoxication is what comes of having all of these academics and think-tank pontificators occupying important positions in D.C. Obama is the best example. He is no good at governing because he thinks it is enough to repeat some words written by somebody else as they scroll across the teleprompter in the Rose Garden. Any follow up is left to a lackey who whines, "But the President said . . ."
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps we could "annex" the Mexican State of Baja California & the world would look the other way. About 1/2 the working population of B.C. crosses the border every day to work in CA, USA & the other 1/2 of their workforce works at the resorts supported by Americans, so we might as well...I mean if it's OK for Russia...
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any minute now, Obama will whip out his red crayon and start drawing lines.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What pressure regarding Crimea? I haven't heard a word about Russia giving back Crimea. All the demands now are that Putin not go any farther. He's been given Crimea.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had made the same point about terrorist funders, which didn't get any traction.

All this stuff is a money game, so go hopping down the money trail, as I used to tell my friends.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey PJ Media...yu're going to have to do a better job ridding your web site of these spamming advertising creeps.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
First of all the EU is not going to put any meaningful pressure on Putin and Russia, they are too beholden to Russia.

Second Russia at this point in time might be a healthier society than Europe.

A Russian turn toward China, already in the works with the planned high speed rail line from Peking to Moscow, might raise Russia's future prospects a great deal.

The Russian birthrate now exceeds the US birthrate. An indicator it would be interesting to get Mr. Goldman to comment upon.

There is considerable support for Russia in the world as the UN general assembly vote shows.

Putin is positioning himself and Russia as a bulwark opposing western cultural Marxism in all it's various manifestations.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kasyanov is an interesting figure per his bio on wikipedia. He was prime minister from 2000 to 2004 and was apparently an effective economic reformer. Putin dismissed him and the entire cabinet in 2004, and barred him from running for president in 2008.
This article notes that the Russian economy grew just 1.3 percent in 2013. I hadn't realized the economic situation there is so dire. Would appreciate a link to a good article on what's going on there economically.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Russia's Economy Is Not in Decline"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/07/26/russias-economy-is-not-in-decline/

Note the comparison of the US and Russian economy.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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