The Effect of American and European Sanctions on Russia

18 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2019

Date Written: May 14, 2019


The paper defines “international sanctions” as politically and economically coercive decisions imposed by two or more countries upon another country to further their own perceived strategic interests. International sanctions can include economic manipulation; coercive diplomatic efforts; or preliminaries to war.

Sanctions are controversial. Scholars question sanctions’ effects on innocent citizens; the level of ethnocentrism involved in designing and implementing sanctions; and the possibility that sanctions may be ineffective. Ang and Peksen 2007 found that sanctions achieve their goals only 33% of the time.

Supporters of sanctions argue that regardless of sanctions’ negative effects on innocent people, those citizens were already being oppressed by their government. Supporters also argue that sanctions are the best international alternative to inaction; and that in the absence of sanctions, oppressive regimes have no incentive to reform.

Opponents of sanctions argue that sanctions promote western values while diminishing the culture of the targeted state. Conversely, supporters argue that something must be done, and cite democratic peace theory as a justification for cultural insensitivity.

There have been several international sanctions against Russia by the U.S. and its allies, beginning in 1979 when the U.S. stopped wheat exports to the Soviet Union. The most recent major sanction was imposed in 2014 on the Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea.
The paper examines economic and political sanctions against Russia and attempts to determine their effect on political and macroeconomic variables such as election results, exchange rates, trade, unemployment rates, and economic growth; and whether sanctions have been effective in meeting their goals.

Keywords: Crimea, Macroeconomics, Russia, Sanctions, Ukraine

JEL Classification: F14, F31, F47, F51

Suggested Citation

Reid, L. Jan, The Effect of American and European Sanctions on Russia (May 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

L. Jan Reid (Contact Author)

Coast Economic Consulting ( email )

3185 Gross Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
United States
831-476-5700 (Phone)
831-476-5700 (Fax)

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