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    Will Donald Trump lift anti-Russian sanctions? - COMMENT

    Europe and Russia concerned about US policies for next 4 years

    Baku. 31 January. REPORT.AZ/ Names of the new US president Donald Trump and members of his administration were involved in cooperation and links with Russian authorities before elections. Russian mass media, especially those linked with government were carrying out propaganda with subtext as though Kremlin appointed US president.

    Russian officials rejected all allegations concerning presidential elections in United States addressed to them.

    Trump in his post-election statement also rejected influence of Russia on mentioned political campaign.

    As long as that mood is still in place and refutations had little effect on public opinion, number of publications spread information on preparation of order by Trump administration to lift anti-Russian sanctions.

    Observer of Politico magazine Susan Glasser, referring to number of sources, posted on her Twitter account that sanctions will be lifted unilaterally. Senior scientist of US based analytical center Atlantic Council Fabrice Pothier, citing his own sources, twitted following post: “DC sources say that Trump admin has an executive order ready to lift Russia sanctions”.

    Kremlin spokesman told on the same day that they are not informed about this.

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer made following comment on the issue: “The administration of US President has not yet made a decision on lifting or maintaining the sanctions imposed by Barack Obama against Russia and this issue was not discussed between the presidents of the two countries during a telephone conversation on January 28”.

    According to him, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in phone talk discussed number of issues, including situation in Syria and Ukraine. The sides also noted importance of joining efforts to fight international terrorism.

    The first phone talk between US and Russian presidents after Trump’s inauguration lasted about 45 minutes.

    S. Spicer noted that Trump also had 45-minute talk with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

    However, Republican senator John McCain told: “I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course. If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law”.

    He told that he supports stronger sanctions against Russia.

    Trump later equivocated on the sanctions, saying at a joint press conference with the British prime minister on January 27, Theresa May, that it was “very early to be talking about that”.

    Trump’s noiseful and outrageous statements even after his inauguration causes some concerns in international community. President of France François Hollande told at joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel: “The Trump administration poses challenges for Europe. There are challenges posed by the new US administration, in regards to commercial rules, in regards to the conflicts in the world. We of course have to speak to Donald Trump, as he was chosen by the Americans to be their president. But we have to do it with a European point of view and promote our interests and values”.

    Merkel, although not naming Trump, told that circumstances of the world change precipitously and dramatically.

    As we see, the issue is not limited to complete or partial cancellation of sanctions against Russia. In general, European countries and Russia have some concerns over US polices for next 4 years.

    Thus, which motives may push D. Trump to lift totally or alleviate sanctions imposed by Barack Obama administration against Russia:

    -Efficient cooperation to fight international terrorism;

    -Resolution of conflicts in former soviet republics;

    -Changing government in Russia;

    -Dispelling aggressive image of Russia;

    -Calming down Russia;

    And here are the arguments against lifting or alleviating sanctions:

    -Respect for political legacy;

    -The main reason of sanctions – Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in process in eastern Ukraine is still in place. Because Ukraine issue is more important for United States;

    -Iran-Russia alliance against US plans in Middle East;

    -Policies against US interests in Syria and Iraq;

    -Cancellation of sanctions may boost Russia’s reputation;

    -Cancellation of sanctions may damage powerful image of US in the world.

    Thus, we listed 5 pros and 6 cons of lifting or alleviating anti-Russian sanctions. As the advantages seem fewer than disadvantages, D. Trump unlikely will lift or soften sanctions. Otherwise the forces gathered around United States will move away. There is no need to lift sanctions from point of view of current situation of Russia. After all, United States never eliminates sanctions; it rather suspends them. 

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