The Canadian press is reporting stories that the government is prepared to place sanctions against Russia if it gets involved in the Ukraine fall out. But what could Canada effectively threaten Vladimir Putin’s country with?
Russia under Putin has taken steps in the past ten years to extricate itself from foreign agreements. Russia is proud not to need aid and alms from other jurisdictions; foreign non-governmental organisations were required to register with the police a few years ago or face expulsion. In 2012, Russia defenestrated the United States Agency for International Development because it was “meddling in politics.”
Back in 2002, I met a Russian putative politician in Petrozavodsk, a city on the edge of Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia, Northern Russia who had strong views on the subject of foreign agencies operating in Russia.
“Amnesty International is not good,” he told me,” They are spies.” With that he handed me his business card; his email read email@example.com. His name was not Putin, nor Medvedev so as far as I know his political career never made it past propagandising to foreign tourists but his shtick was more prescient than he possibly knew.
As an aside, my cousin married a Ukrainian woman in Lviv registry office last weekend. The happy couple are honeymooning in Europe. When strangers find out where she is from, they praise the revolution and wish prosperity on entire Ukrainian population.
Canada keeps threat of sanctions on table if Russia interferes in Ukraine
OTTAWA—The Harper government left the threat of sanctions against Russia on the table if it interferes inUkraine, even as federal politicians in Ottawa reacted Monday to the convulsive events there with domestic political mud-slinging.
The possibility of Canadian sanctions against Russia was first raised Sunday by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander on CTV’s Question Period.
A day later, Alexander appeared to play down speculation about Canadian sanctions on Russia when he fielded questions from reporters on Parliament Hill, but a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird did not.
“We’re not going to comment on hypothetical scenarios. We want to keep this door towards a return to legitimate institutions, democratic institutions in Ukraine open and we know that that has to be done,” Alexander said Monday.
A day earlier, Alexander told CTV that “sanctions and other, and other measures potentially, as well” would be on the table if Russia intervened. Asked Monday, about those remarks Alexander explained that, “I was asked repeatedly by (the interviewer), ‘What if, what if, what if.’ ”
A written statement from Baird issued earlier Monday made no mention of sanctions against Russia.
However, when asked specifically whether they were a possibility, Baird’s spokesman Adam Hodge replied in an email: “All options are on the table.”
He did not elaborate.
Tensions between the West and Russia continued to run high Monday after Ukrainian authorities replaced their Russian-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the capital Kyiv on Friday.
Baird, who was in Australia on an official visit Monday, issued a written statement that welcomed Oleksander Turchinov as Ukraine’s acting president.
“The Ukrainian parliament acted legitimately in naming Speaker Turchinov as acting president pending the May 25 elections, and Canada welcomes his interim appointment during this important transition period,” said Baird’s statement.
“The next critical juncture will be the Ukrainian parliament’s vote to establish a new government under the leadership of a new prime minister, in accordance with the constitution passed on Feb. 22.”
Source: The Star