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Things to Ponder as we start June

As you may know, at my day job (which gives me the financial ability to do this), I write commentary for a weekly sanctions newsletter call Sanctions Insight. And every day I look at the news stories that come in regarding sanctions-related actions and reactions for OFAC, EU and UK sanctions programs. Every week, there is always something to write about – this week, it was my opinion as to why the reaction to the Belarus actions forcing down the Ryanair plane in order to arrest and imprison Protasevich was so strong (and apparently sustained).

But sometimes I hear little things that are not worthy of commentary – yet. And they provide things for me to think about should they grow into more important trends.

On Friday, I had 2 of those, which I present for your consideration:

First, a story about how Huawei, seemingly desperate to be free of its dependence on U.S. chips, is recruiting heavily in Russia. In doing so, they are paying elevated wages (the piece notes that they now offer more than Google does). And the article notes grumbling in Russia over upsetting the labor market…

I didn’t read the piece ultra-carefully, since I wasn’t going to comment on it, but I assume these were business leaders doing the complaining. If this persists or gets more serious, could it hurt Sino-Russia relations? Don’t know, but it’s intetresting to think about.

Second: another article claimed that the Russian government is furious at Lukashenko for the Ryanair incident (apparently, expletives have been heard). The article also opined that patience for supporting Lukashenko is wearing thin. Now, how will that resolve itself? Will the Russians dictate who the next head of state is? Support a coup? Or just step aside and let Western sanctions and domestic turbulence bring Lukashenko down? Certainly something to keep an eye on.

As you know, I don’t often share such seemingly small hints of things possibly to come. But, when the potential impact is so significant on the world stage, it seemed like the right thing to do…

What do you think? (About the stories, not the fact that I made this post)

Categories: Commentary Geopolitics

eric9to5

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