January 27, 2022

For Economic Sanctions To Work Against Russia, the US and Its Allies Will Have To Share Some of the Pain

Source: The Boston Globe

Journalist: Jim Puzzanghera

The Biden administration’s strategy for economic sanctions against Russia should it invade Ukraine could be summed up as “no pain, no gain.”

With a military confrontation off the table, the United States is mainly relying on economic weapons to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Biden last week said Putin has “never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed” if he launches the invasion. But to be truly effective given Russia’s efforts to insulate itself from tough new sanctions, the pain will have to be felt in the United States and Europe as well, experts said.


The sanctions levied by the US and its allies after the Crimea annexation built incrementally—in part because the military action came as a surprise—and focused on individuals and companies rather than the Russian economy as a whole. For example, they decided not to broadly sanction the state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, opting instead to target specific company projects, like those in the Arctic, and some of its subsidiaries.

Compared to that set of sanctions, the United States has a “massive amount of room” to ramp up the financial penalties Russia would face, particularly if its oil industry is targeted, said Edward Fishman, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, and a former State Department official during the Obama administration.

Read the full story and more from The Boston Globe.


  • Edward Fishman