Russia passes law on counter-sanctions

Russia passes law on counter-sanctions

Russia’s State Duma has passed the final third reading of a law on counter-sanctions against the US and other unfriendly states.

The law stipulates that the Russian president may provide the government with the right to impose restrictions, provided they do not apply to vital supplies which have no analogues produced in Russia or other countries. Decisions on sanctions may be made by the president based on proposals submitted by the Russian Security Council. At the same time, in case the situation causing the introduction of sanctions should change, the government will remove these restrictions.

"The federal law is aimed at protecting the interests and safety of Russia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, from unfriendly actions by the US and other states, which may take the form of political and economic sanctions on Russia, Russian citizens and legal entities, as well as from other actions posing a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity and aimed at destabilizing the economic and political situation in the country," the document reads.

The document was initiated by a group of lawmakers led by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

Ahead of the second reading of the bill, the reference to specific industries, goods and services was omitted, while the list of possible actions was reduced from 16 to six. Counter-sanctions may be imposed on unfriendly countries, organizations under their jurisdiction, directly or indirectly controlled by those countries of affiliated with them, as well as on those countries’ officials and citizens.

Companies from the US and other unfriendly states and those controlled by them or affiliated with them, will be barred from participating in contracts concerning government purchases and the privatization of state property.

The Russian cabinet will have the right to halt cooperation with unfriendly states and organizations controlled by them or affiliated with them.

The government can also ban and limit the export of goods and raw materials from the US and other unfriendly states. However, restrictions will not apply to goods that Russian and foreign citizens may bring from abroad for personal use.

The law is expected to take effect on the day of its official publication.

Chairman of the State Duma’s Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that this law provided the Russian president with an additional lever for timely reaction to unfriendly actions of other countries against Russia.

"The law provides a framework for the president and the government to make decisions depending on the circumstances and interests of the country. It does not establish which types of products or which individuals or organizations are subject to the decisions of the Russian authorities, but allows the executive to apply sanctions against individuals, goods and organizations," Anatoly Aksakov explained.

The application of the law, according to him, will depend on the degree and nature of external pressure on Russia. "I do not think that there will be a reaction to any previous actions, because the law is more designed to respond to future actions, since there are constant calls in the West for increasing sanctions," the chairman of the State Duma’s Financial Market Committee drew attention.

he director of the Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, pointed to the utilitarian goals of the law on counter-sanctions. "First, the law gives the president and the prime minister the opportunity to promptly respond to external sanctions, without serious legislative work. It will depend on the intensity of the sanctions behavior of our Western partners. The adopted law is in fact preventive measure," he noted.

"In addition, the law allows Russian companies to strengthen their legal position in courts in the event of default by foreign partners. Now all Western companies, when there is a need to fulfill their obligations with respect the Russian side, they say that they cannot do this, because otherwise they would be subject to criminal liability due to the sanctions. Until now, Russian companies could not respond, but now the law gives them a new tool for legal proceedings, which is extremely important," Alexei Mukhin added.