Nota Bene Podcast Episode 131: U.S. Sanctions Against Russia: Valid or Ineffective Economic Policy? with Fatema Merchant and Mario Torrico


U.S.-Russia relations have been complicated, to say the least. Given Russia’s recent cyberattacks on SolarWinds and the government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the Biden administration is stepping up and issuing sanctions against the Russian government to curtail harmful foreign activities. But do these sanctions make a difference? I’m joined by attorneys Fatema Merchant and Mario Torrico to discuss the efficacy of U.S. sanctions against Russia.   

Fatema Merchant is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade and White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice Groups in Sheppard Mullin’s Washington, D.C. office. Fatema focuses on supporting clients in their international business and global transactions to mitigate risk and address trade and regulatory issues. Her practice includes compliance counseling, investigations and cross-border transactional work related to anti-corruption, export controls, economic sanctions, anti-money laundering, foreign investment (CFIUS) and tariff and import regulations. 

Mario Torrico is an associate in the Government Contracts, Investigations, and International Trade Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Washington, D.C. office. Mario focuses his practice on compliance counseling, investigations, and cross-border transactional work concerning international trade matters including customs, trade remedies, export controls, economic sanctions and embargoes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and other areas of international trade law.

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What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • What can explain the increased harmful activities by Russia against the U.S.?
  • What did the Russian cyberattack on SolarWinds entail and how did the U.S. respond?
  • What types of sanctions can the U.S. government impose? What type were issued against Russia?
  • What did the sanctions against Russia accomplish?
  • Can we expect some level of responsibility from Russia for their cyberattacks?
  • Do U.S. sanctions carry any weight? Are they effective?
  • Can sanctions be used as a diplomatic, political tool?
  • Are U.S. trade partners impacted by U.S. sanctions against Russia and accompanying politics?
  • Are ransomware attacks one way Russia can showcase its relevance?
  • What might this era of U.S.-Russia relations look like under the Biden administration?

Contact Information:

Fatema’s Sheppard Mullin attorney profile -

Mario’s Sheppard Mullin attorney profile - 

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Sheppard Mullin website

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matter, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

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