Breakfast Briefing with Iryna Bogdanova

Economic Sanctions against Russia: The End of the “Wandel durch Handel” Narrative


Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February 2022, economic sanctions imposed on Russia after its annexation of Crimea in 2014 have been significantly tightened in an effort to stall the war. These economic sanctions are diverse and range from measures against Russian sovereign debt and freezing of the Russian Central Bank’s assets to technological and transportation sanctions.

The imposed restrictions sparked off perennial debates about the legality of unilateral economic sanctions, their effectiveness and enforcement as well as circumvention practices. Besides these traditional concerns, a new issue that has attracted significant attention is the possibility of using frozen Russian assets (belonging to the Central Bank and private individuals) for funding Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and the legality of such a move. Iryna Bogdanova will address all those issues during her presentation.

About the Speaker

Iryna Bogdanova is a postdoctoral researcher at the World Trade Institute (WTI), University of Berne. In 2020, Iryna was awarded a PhD degree (Summa cum Laude) by the Faculty of Law of the University of Berne. Her thesis explored the legality of unilateral economic sanctions, i.e. those imposed by individual states without authorization of the UN Security Council, under international law, and came out as a book in July 2022. Iryna is a graduate of the Master of International Law and Economics Program at the WTI and holds bachelor’s and master’s diplomas from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine. 

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See a list of all the International Law Breakfast Briefings for Spring 2023