Holding dialogue between "captains of business" is difficult under sanctions
Before the Russia-US summit took place in Helsinki on July 16, there were illusory hopes that the meeting could stimulate a mitigation of the sanctions regime. However, according to the program director of the Russian Council on International Affairs Ivan Timofeev, the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump was not able to affect the sanctions regime: "There have been two scenarios: either the status quo, that is, the sanctions regime in the current form, is preserved, or it is further strengthened. The meeting of the two presidents contributes to preserving the status quo in the near future. But still there are no legal, procedural, or political prerequisites to the fact that there will be changes from the US and, accordingly, Russia in respect of counter-sanctions."
According to the expert, the US president is seriously limited by Congress and legislation, which provides for a cumbersome procedure for reviewing sanctions on specific issues. "If the president shows an initiative, which will cost him immense political capital, the system is set up in such a way that it's a lot easier to impose sanctions than to abolish them. The Americans themselves suffer from it, because sanctions are introduced not just to punish some country, but to achieve some foreign policy goals... The Iranian lesson for Russia is important enough, but this is a lesson for the Americans as well, which shows that sanctions are rather useless in achieving diplomatic successes."
Ivan Timofeev also drew attention to the Helsinki initiative about holding dialogue at the level of "captains of business": "The parameters of this dialogue are not clear yet. It will be difficult to hold it under sanctions. The sanctions concern the financial sector, energy sector, but there are a number of spheres that do not fall under sanctions. However, business prefers to grow from below, not from above. It is difficult to give it instructions from the "political level." This does not always lead to good results. But the very fact of such a signal is not bad. It calms business a little. Stock markets have responded very well to the meeting and these statements - Russian companies equities are up, which is good. Meanwhile, we should not expect qualitative changes in the long-term. If there are some qualitative political changes, it will affect the sanctions regime, although it is quite rigid and its changes will lag behind from the political agenda. "