Dante Ruffalo, Alicia moritz

“I guess my Spring Break in Siberia is off!”

The EU, as a whole, imports about one third of its oil and gas from Russia making it difficult for the monetary union to back sanctions against Mr. Putin.  Further, former Eastern European countries are significantly more reliant on Russia as their fuel source with Lithuania importing over 90% of its fuel needs from the truculent Russian president.

Thus far, the freezing of foreign assets belonging to the handful of Russian ‘oiligarchs’ closest to the Kremlin has yielded little more than the response ‘we keep our money in Russian banks.’  Russia invoked equally intolerable sanctions against travel by U.S. officials leading John McCain to say ‘my spring break in Siberia is off.’

Tit-for-tat nonsense sanctions do nothing to ameliorate the misery endured by the Ukraine populace as Russian soldiers dramatically increase their military presence on the Ukrainian border.  Nor do they deter Mr. Putin from taking eastern Moldova, effectively cutting Ukraine’s geographic ties to the rest of Europe.  Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom announced a 35% price increase in gas to the Ukraine claiming the rent for Russia’s navy base in Crimea, which subsidized gas prices in Ukraine, no longer applies.

To effectively tame the Putin agenda, the U.S. and EU need to impose trade restrictions.  This would affect the feeble Russian economy in two ways.  Without exports, loss of industrial output would dry up capital markets and secondly, with no new equipment and technology, Russia will be unable to continue exploration and development of energy resources.

Harsh sanctions like these could also lead the Russian proletariat and users of Twitter to organize anti-government protests similar to those contrived by Mr. Putin to annex Crimea.