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Nov 20, 2021
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US Congress demands blood from Gazprom

US Congress demands blood from Gazprom

Photo: Yuri Smityuk / TASS

The latest events in the US Congress can be colorfully illustrated with the painting by Ilya Repin “The Cossacks are Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan.” Adjusted for comfortable chairs and expensive suits, of course. But the look on the faces of Republican congressmen as they worked on a message to the Secretary of State Anthony Blinkinwere probably as self-righteous as Repin’s Cossacks.

The representatives of the Republican Party were prompted to take this step by the deepest concern about the actions, or rather, the inaction of the president. Biden, which, in their opinion, is pursuing an insufficiently tough policy towards Russia.

And he cannot put pressure on NATO partners so that Ukraine will be admitted there, and he failed to interfere with the construction of Nord Stream-2. And most importantly, he admitted that Gazprom is still not on the “black list”. And the congressmen demanded to urgently impose sanctions against this Russian company, at the same time including a number of Russian metallurgical and mining enterprises in this notorious list. To the heap.

By the way, Gazprom turned out to be almost the only Russian state-owned raw materials company that did not fall under sanctions in 2014. So he, possessing a monopoly right to export pipeline gas from Russia, is still free to attract foreign currency on foreign capital markets. But Rosneft, already on the black list, has access to loans for a period not exceeding 14 days.

Recall that Joe Biden rejected a package of sanctions against the Russian Federation proposed by representatives of the National Security Council three times in 2021. But not out of the kindness of his soul: in his opinion, they were not tough enough to influence the foreign policy pursued by Russia. And still they took a lot of things that were forbidden.

Thus, in April, sanctions were imposed on Russia due to “harmful external activities.” In particular, they prohibited American companies from directly purchasing Russian government bonds issued by the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the Russian National Welfare Fund on the primary market. At the same time, the Americans announced the expulsion of 10 diplomats from Washington, who were considered agents of the Russian intelligence services.

In August, restrictions were introduced on the permanent import of firearms or ammunition produced or located in Russia, as well as on the export of nuclear and missile technology to Russia. But that’s not all: in September, Congressmen approved the introduction of sanctions against Russian citizens on the so-called Navalny“, As well as the expansion of restrictions against the state debt of Russia.

And now – new demands to punish Russia. Is there really nothing more for American politicians to do?

– It is still premature to predict what the new US sanctions will turn out to be for Gazprom and other companies, the expert said. Sergey Pravosudov… – We need to wait and see how the situation develops. There are a lot of people there who want to come up with different initiatives. After all, now there are internal party squabbles between the Republicans, and the struggle between Republicans and Democrats. Perhaps there will be no new sanctions in the foreseeable future.

But what if Biden decides to tighten the screws at the end of the year? Will the discriminatory measures against Gazprom ricochet across Europe, which is heavily addicted to Russian gas? European consumers should be interested in the well-being of the main supplier of blue fuel.

– If the US President approves new sanctions, in particular, against Gazprom, then this, of course, will be a serious blow to his interests, – the political scientist believes Sergey Markov… – “Gazprom” will be deprived of the opportunity to take loans, there will be problems with the conclusion of contracts. But the European countries will benefit from this: the Russian company will have to agree to less favorable terms of transactions for it.

Sergei Markov agrees that the sanctions escapade of the American congressmen is connected not so much with the policy of Russia, which does not suit the United States for a number of reasons, as with the internal party games in the republican camp:

– Opponents Donald Trump in the ranks of the Republicans want to push him aside. He practically acts as a tribune of the people; their main goal is to remove him from the political arena. Another important point: both Republicans and Democrats often act in the interests of big business. This is actually called corruption. And possible sanctions against Gazprom would be in the interests of American gas companies and Middle Eastern energy-related companies. Many politicians in the United States receive their money through various Middle East funds. First of all – from the Saudis. Eighty percent of senators and congressmen receive money from them, – the political scientist reminds.

In the Kremlin, the news of the congressmen’s initiative is quite regrettable, because new sanctions against Russia, if adopted, would launch a “worst case scenario” for the development of relations between the two countries. This dashed “modest hopes for the establishment, restoration of some kind of dialogue”, – said the press secretary Putin Dmitry Peskov

And the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria ZakharovaCommenting on this situation, she stressed that Moscow would like to once again warn Washington against a rash step on the “sanctions track”.

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