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Sanctions on Technology Imports Leave Russia Playing Catch Up

Published: August 4, 2014 (Issue # 1822)

  • The latest round of sanctions will hamper development of key technologies in Russia both for military and civil use.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The impact of the EU's latest and harshest sanctions on Russia will be felt most keenly in the country's economic sectors that are largely dependent on state-of-the-art Western technology, ranging from the extraction of hydrocarbons to civil aircraft production, analysts said.

The European Union late last week officially approved new measures aimed at pressuring Russia into changing its approach to the crisis in Ukraine. The sanctions target Russian state-owned banks, which will have trouble attracting long-term financing abroad, and ban EU exports of military products and dual-use technology to Russia. EU deliveries of equipment and technology for oil exploration in the Arctic and shale oil projects in Russia have also been blocked.

Of the various measures imposed by the EU, the most significant are the restrictions on Russian imports of equipment and technology related to the oil industry, said David Cadier, a fellow at International Strategy and Diplomacy at the Department of International Relations of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"This restriction is probably one of the most important for Russia as it might prevent it from exploiting some resources, in the Arctic for instance," Cadier said Friday. "By contrast, the freeze on five Russian banks from the European capital market is unlikely to have a major effect in the short term as Russia has sufficient reserves."

Most of the state-owned banks have already shrugged off the sanctions, saying they have enough capital of their own to continue operating without any disruptions. Also, Russia's Central Bank has said it will support the banks should the need arise.

The ban on EU exports of oil technology and equipment, Cadier said, is significant because of what it reveals about the crisis in Ukraine and about the state of EU-Russia relations in a broader sense.

"Contrary to the ban on military equipment for instance, these sanctions are not directly linked to the [military situation in Ukraine] that prompted them, but constitute a wider attempt to put pressure on Russia. This indicates that the level of antagonism between the EU and Russia has moved to a new level," Cadier said.

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Thursday, Oct. 30

Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.

Friday, Oct. 31

Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Saturday, Nov. 1

The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.

Monday, Nov. 3

Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.

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