January 26, 2021

Volume XI, Number 26


January 25, 2021

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Cutting the Salami with Putin: Further Sanctions in Russia

For companies doing business in Russia and following with concern the possibility of further sanctions, next week will be critical. On August 26, senior EU officials will be gathering in Minsk, Belarus. It is likely that Russian President Putin will also be meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Poroshenko, for the first time in two months.

If there will be negotiations, Poroshenko will face a difficult choice. In recent days, Ukrainian troops have made gains against pro-Russian separatists but the battle is still raging. The price for Poroshenko agreeing to a ceasefire and ending the bloodshed may be to halt Ukraine’s effort to reclaim its territory being held by the rebels.

It is not surprising that these negotiations will be structured in a way in which Putin comes away with a partial victory. A number of years ago, a Russian diplomat explained to me Putin’s approach to negotiations. It’s like cutting a salami, he said. You begin with the entire salami. As a compromise, Putin says let’s cut it in half.  You agree so he puts half in his bag. The other half is resting on the table, and he says, now let’s negotiate. In successive increments, he gains almost the entire salami.

I recalled this in connection with Ukraine. A couple months ago, the negotiations were over Crimea. Putin now has that in his bag. The negotiations are now over the fate of Eastern Ukraine.

The western Europeans will be pushing for a ceasefire. Will the price be too great for Peroshenko to accept? Even if he does, months from now, will there be a further negotiation—- over what’s left of the salami?

© 2020 Covington & Burling LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 233



About this Author

Allan Topol, Covington, Environmental attorney
Senior Counsel

Allan Topol is a resident in the firm’s Washington office.  While practicing law with Covington, he has written ten novels of international intrigue and numerous articles dealing with foreign policy issues in The Huffington PostThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and Military.com.

Mr. Topol’s law practice has involved extensive civil and criminal litigation, with an emphasis on water, air and major hazardous waste enforcement cases, as well as international environmental law and toxic torts.  He has also advised clients on many of...

Scott Danzis, Food and drug attorney, Covington Burling

Scott Danzis is a partner in the firm’s Food & Drug and Health Care practice groups. His practice focuses on the regulation of medical devices and diagnostics. Mr. Danzis regularly works with companies in developing strategies for interacting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including strategies for clinical development and premarket review (including appeals and dispute resolution, when needed). He also advises on compliance with postmarket requirements, including advertising and promotion restrictions, quality system and manufacturing requirements...

Christina Kuhn, Covington, Food and drug lawyer

Christina Kuhn advises medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies on a broad range of FDA regulatory strategy and compliance matters. She has experience with cutting-edge and complex medical technologies, including software and digital health products, oncology products, next-generation sequencing, diagnostics, and combination products.

Ms. Kuhn frequently helps multinational device manufacturers as well as start-up device companies navigate the premarket regulatory process, advising companies on regulatory classification, clinical development strategy...