It will mainly be conditioned by the use of the Russian Federation's advocacy mechanisms within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and strengthening the protectionist tendencies in different fields of the Russian economy.
On the one hand, sanctions will lead to a further weakening of the Russian economy, which means that Moscow, the main advocate of the EAEU, will not be able to provide much money for the development of that program. On the other hand, Russia will define the rules of the new game within the framework of the EAEU to protect its market and interests.
“Russia will put the rules of the game through EAEU to protect its manufacturer, itself. When Russia made amendments to the law on driving licenses which banned the drivers with Armenian driving license to work there, Russia made the right move from its perspective, defended its worker. Now the Russians will work instead of our drivers,” Stepan Grigoryan, Director of the Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, said.
Stepan Grigoryan, Areg Galstyan, Expert of Forbes, The National Interest and The American Thinker, Ph.D., Vilen Khachatryan, Economist, participated in the discussion entitled “What Impact will the New US Sanctions against Russia have on Armenia and the Region?” at Media Center on July 31.
Though Trump has not yet signed the package of sanctions against Russia adopted by the two Chambers of the US Congress, experts say that despite the European Union's dissatisfaction, the process is irreversible and the President's signature under the bill is just a matter of time.
Areg Galstyan thinks that US elites are in a difficult situation in terms of toughening the policy on Russia. “Over the past 20 years, there has been no document in the US that had such a great support in the US House of Representatives and the Senate. This legislative initiative has mainly domestic political motives. Trump has been the President over the six months but his administration's scandals concerning Russia are not few, which dropped its rating. And it is not profitable for Trump on the threshold of the elections in 2018. Trump does not have a guarantee for the victory in 2020. So all this is done by the Republicans in their own interests,” he said, adding that Trump has almost no support in the Congress.
Galstyan says that Trump is supported only by the traditional fractions, after he banned transgender servers in the US Armed Forces.
According to Vilen Khachatryan, the impact of sanctions on Russia can be divided into two parts, one of which can be beneficial for Armenia. “The United States, sanctions against Russia and Russia's anti-tactics harm both sides. Naturally nobody benefits from it, and sometimes even Europe understands that it is suffering from sanctions against Russia,” Khachatryan said.
On the other hand, according to the economist, Russia has started thinking about self-sufficiency as a result of sanctions in the field of agriculture. “It was also an opportunity for Armenia to benefit in terms of export. That is to say, these sanctions can be divided into two parts: a block from which we can benefit, and a block from which we will suffer.”
Vilen Khachatryan mentions that Armenia will suffer from remittances, which has tendency to fall: “Naturally, we suffer from the transfer bloc. Armenia is a country that receives remittances from Russia, and we notice that over the past two years transfers have reached 1.3 billion from the 2 billion. And if the level of remittances drops, it is a serious blow. The next block is oil prices, but everything here is unequivocal, there are contradictions,” he said.
As for the third block, according to the economist, in terms of export, Russia has turned into a country where about 22% of the goods exported from Armenia are directed. “Here, one of our biggest partners is subjected to sanctions,” he said.
Turning to Russia's possible protectorate steps, Vilen Khachatryan spoke of migrant workers traveling from Armenia to Russia, who, in turn, could suffer from sanctions. “In any country where migrant workers are cut off, migrants are the first to strike, and if Armenian citizens return, it will have a negative impact,” the expert said.
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