NBC: sanctions against Russian oligarchs are unlikely to seriously affect Putin

On Friday, April 6, the U.S. announced new sanctions against 7 Russian oligarchs suspected of having links with the Kremlin. Causes the next restrictions are not new — the military operations in the East of Ukraine, occupation of Crimea, the bloodshed in Syria, cyber attacks and interference in the election of the President of the United States.

Today, April 9, became aware of the first significant results of the sanctions. Shares of aluminum giant RUSAL, owned by the infamous Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, fell on the stock exchange in Hong Kong almost 50%. The press service of the company reported that assesses the risks and the probability of technical default.

However, with all the evidence of damages for «RUSAL» and despite what many media outlets called the new sanctions are among the toughest measures taken by the administration trump , NBC journalists found out why they will not have a significant impact on Vladimir Putin.

Many will ask: «How is will? After all, 24 of the Russians in respect of which the adopted sanctions are closely linked to the Kremlin!»

According to Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at Prague’s Institute of international and social relations (Vysoká škola mezinárodních a veřejných vztahů Praha), this logic relies on an outdated understanding of the role of oligarchs in Putin’s Russia.

Galeotti and other experts say that undoubtedly in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union the people who created themselves a fortune on the plunder of the state, had a significant impact. However, things have changed under Putin, who has made it clear it will not tolerate such behavior.

The influence of the oligarchs on the political life of Russia has weakened, says Jonathan Eyal, Director of the Royal United services Institute for defence studies in London (Royal United Services Institute — RUSI).

«Sanctions are in 2014, and the Russian government successfully used them for its propaganda, — says another expert — researcher, the London analytical center Chatham House (London) Mathieu Bulge, Russia learned to live with them, this is the new normal relations with the West.»

But as Galeotti and Eyal emphasize that sanctions still have an effect. First, under their influence from Western countries would take money that was obtained through corrupt schemes. In addition, the sanctions will make it harder for Russian oligarchs as travel abroad, as well as the acquisition of real estate, and this may have some influence on the President of Russia.