National Interests: Priorities and Security

Sanctions and counter-sanctions: The use of political tools for economic purposes

Vol. 13, Iss. 8, AUGUST 2017

Received: 26 June 2017

Received in revised form: 19 July 2017

Accepted: 11 August 2017

Available online: 29 August 2017


JEL Classification: E61, E65, F51, F52, F62

Pages: 1396–1414

Lyakin A.N. Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Rogov M.I. Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Importance This article reviews discriminatory measures of the Western countries against Russia and Russia’s reciprocal response as protectionism for attaining economic goals of the countries initiating the restrictions.
Objectives The research specifies the existing terminology, demonstrate that sanctions can be imposed only by the supranational organization that has respective authority in relation to its members. We also analyze benefits and losses of the discriminatory measures.
Methods Embargo and financial restrictions against Russia are viewed as extreme forms of the competition among national economies. We suggest evaluating the effectiveness of commodity and capital restrictions by comparing benefits and losses from them for the national economy, rather than the assessment of losses for counterparties. We applied methods of logic and statistical analysis, including graphic visualization.
Results Having analyzed the outcome of Russia’s protectionist measures to restrict the competition in agriculture, we found that sectors with a short pay-back period saw a rapid growth in production, and replaced imported goods. Sectors that need substantial investment rearranged the geography of supplies.
Conclusions and Relevance In the short run, the boycott appears more effective than embargo, since it pushes a growth in industries covered with a protectionist shield, while the embargo can be circumvented with a variety of trading ties in the global economy. In the long run, the boycott will not have an adverse effect on the competitiveness of the protected sectors, while the embargo impedes an economic growth and effective development of the sectors suffering the restrictions.

Keywords: embargo, boycott, protectionism, Russian economy, sanctions


  1. Hufbauer G., Schott J., Elliott K., Oegg B. Economic Sanctions Reconsidered. 3rd ed., Washington, DC, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2007, 233 p.
  2. Hart A. Democracy and the Successful Use of Economic Sanctions. Political Research Quarterly, 2000, vol. 53, iss. 2, pp. 267–284. URL:
  3. Klinova M., Sidorova E. Economic Sanctions and Their Impact on Russian Economic Relations with the European Union. Problems of Economic Transition, 2016, vol. 58, iss. 3, pp. 218–234. URL:
  4. Shin G., Choi S., Luo S. Do Economic Sanctions Impair Target Economies? International Political Science Review, 2016, vol. 37, iss. 4, pp. 485–499. URL:
  5. Oja K. No Milk for the Bear: The Impact on the Baltic States of Russia’s Counter-Sanctions. Baltic Journal of Economics, 2015, vol. 15, iss. 1, pp. 38–49. URL:
  6. Calamita Jansen N. Sanctions, Countermeasures, and the Iranian Nuclear Issue. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 2009, vol. 42, iss. 5, pp. 1393–1442.
  7. Kozheurov Ya.S. [The war of ‘sanctions’ and the law of international responsibility]. Rossiiskii yuridicheskii zhurnal=Russian Juridical Journal, 2015, no. 2, pp. 179–182. (In Russ.)
  8. Lukashuk I.I. [Law of international responsibility]. Mezhdunarodnoe publichnoe i chastnoe pravo = Public International and Public International Law, 2002, no. 2, pp. 30–43. (In Russ.)
  9. Tzanakopoulos A. Disobeying the Security Council: Countermeasures Against Wrongful Sanctions. Oxford, OUP, 2011, 310 p.
  10. Vitzthum W.G. Völkerrecht. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2013, 686 p.
  11. Giumelli F. Understanding United Nations Targeted Sanctions: An Empirical Analysis. International Affairs, 2015, vol. 91, iss. 6, pp. 1351–1368. URL:
  12. Gurvich E., Prilepskii I. [The impact of financial sanctions on the Russian economy]. Voprosy Ekonomiki, 2016, no. 1, pp. 5–35. (In Russ.)
  13. Borodin K. [The impact of the embargo and sanctions on the agri-food markets in Russia: Analysis of consequences]. Voprosy Ekonomiki, 2016, no. 4, pp. 124–143. (In Russ.)
  14. Nureev R.M., Petrakov P.K. [The ordinary consumer: the burden of economic sanctions against Russia]. Journal of Economic Regulation, 2015, vol. 6, iss. 3, pp. 40–60. URL: (In Russ.)
  15. Fedorova E., Fedotova M., Nikolaev A. [Assessing the impact of sanctions on Russian companies performance]. Voprosy Ekonomiki, 2016, no. 3, pp. 34–45. (In Russ.)
  16. Tuzova E., Qayum F. Global Oil Glut and Sanctions: The Impact on Putin’s Russia. Energy Policy, 2016, vol. 90, pp. 140–151. URL:
  17. Pestova A., Mamonov M. [Estimating the influence of different shocks on macroeconomic indicators and developing conditional forecasts on the basis of BVAR model for the Russian economy]. Ekonomicheskaya politika = Economic Policy, 2016, vol. 11, iss. 4, pp. 56–92. (In Russ.)
  18. Mirkin Ya.M. [Influence of sanctions on financial risks of the Russian economy]. Bankovskie uslugi = Banking Services, 2015, no. 8, pp. 17–24. (In Russ.)
  19. Zagashvili V.S. [Western sanctions and Russian economy]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya = World Economy and International Relations, 2015, no. 11, pp. 67–77. (In Russ.)

View all articles of issue


ISSN 2311-875X (Online)
ISSN 2073-2872 (Print)

Journal current issue

Vol. 13, Iss. 8
August 2017