On January 31, 2017 European Union economic sanctions had to be expired against Russia. However, on December 19, 2016, the European Council extended them for another six months by unanimous decision, until 31 July 2017. Thus, the total period of sanctions will be 3 years already – from 31 July 2014 till 31 July 2017. In the EU deadline is associated with the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, according to the latest estimates of the Heads of States and Governments of the eurozone countries, the implementation of these agreements has not been completed yet.
Following European Union, US extended its sanctions against Russia. List replenished by tankers “Marshal Zhukov” and “Stalingrad“, the companies “Strojproect“, “Crimean sea ports“, “Crimean Railway“, “RosHimTreyd“, “Transpetrochart“, “Karst“, “Solid“, “Trans-Fleet” . In addition, the sanctions list has been extended by the president of the National Media Group K.Kovalchuk, board members of the bank “Russia” D.Lebedev, M.Klishin, D.Mansurov and the top manager of the same bank M.Dedov, chairman of Sobinbank O.Minaev and businessman E.Prigozhin.
At the same time, economists surveyed by Bloomberg, expect a gradual and soon easing US sanctions against Russia. The number of those increased significantly in recent months. So, in October 2016, only 10% of those surveyed economists believed that sanctions will be relaxed in the next 12 months, and in December 2016 the number of positive-minded analysts rose to 55%. They also believe that the lifting of sanctions could add to the growth of Russia’s GDP of 0.2 percentage points in 2017 and 0.5 percentage points in 2018. In the case of such developments, the EU will also have to go to the easing of sanctions, because in its ranks unanimity will not be about this question. This scenario expects 40% of surveyed analysts in December 2016, compared with 33% in October 2016.
Leading Russian political parties have preferred to remain silent on the request of comments on the extension of the sanctions and the impact of this event on the development of the country.