Below is a final selection of official Russian reactions to the new round of U.S. sanctions targeting Russia. What characterizes some of them is their extreme bitterness. Public intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov calls for a containment policy and the formation of alliances to restrain the United States which now represents the real danger to global security. Vladimir Lepekhin harks back to Cold War times to paint the United States as a country dominated by rapacious transnational corporations, who would do anything for a quick buck. He even compares the United States to a wounded predatory animal.
Trump: "Not my fault [the U.S. sanctions against Russia]"
The cartoon refers to a White House statement, in which Trump expressed his concerns about the new round of sanctions, and called the bill "seriously flawed." (Source: Vk.com/politics_today, August 4, 2017)
Public Intellectual Lukyanov: 'The Cold War Became A Fact… We Should Consider A Joint Effort to Contain [The U.S.]. Russia Cannot Do It By Itself'
The Russian public intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Research Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club, wrote in his column for the Russian media outlet Lenta.ru an article, titled "The Cold War Against All - The New U.S. Policy Jeopardize Not Only Russia's Interests."
Following are excerpts from Lukyanov's analysis:
"… The situation between the US and Russia may be characterized as a real Cold War. First of all, because there is no point to joint termination of crises or any resolution of problems' …
"The sensational [electoral] success of Donald Trump provided hope that the Cold War could be averted. The optimists focused on Trump's statements regarding his desire to make a deal with Russia, but they have underestimated the military makeup of his close circle… and the extremely negative mood of the congressional establishment. Whatever the case may be, half a year after Trump got to the White House, the Cold war became a fact…"
The author continues by asserting that structure of U.S.-Russia relations differs from the original cold war and its strong ideological differences. This is proven by Trump's contradictory statements on U.S. policy towards Russia, because his position is shaped by opportunistic circumstances (primarily dictated by domestic politics). Lukyanov stressed:
"This testifies that Russia is not that important for Trump's administration. The Congress, which has just codified the sanctions reinforcing them for decades to come, needs Russia as an instrument for solving other problems, rather than a as a target for [foreign] policy implementation...
"Moscow apparently does not want the confrontation to escalate. The rhetoric is unusually restrained; the retaliatory measures are taken reluctantly, though limiting the numbers of U.S. diplomatic representatives in Russia is unprecedented in peacetime … In general, the lack of symmetry and a predictable exchange of blows makes the situation even more dangerous than during the period of bloc' confrontation…"
"Trump's 'America first' policy not only targets Russia but also America's erstwhile allies. The sanctions against Russia hurt European interests and reflected a neo-mercantilist administration policy.
"During the election campaign, Donald Trump disassociated himself from 'global leadership,' which served as an axiom for all Post Cold War administrations… By renouncing 'global leadership', which implies responsibility for the others (however that is perceived in Washington), the White House (with Congress' support) has decided to use U.S. power solely for protecting and promoting the U.S.' own interests. It's done globally just as previously. This is exactly the pretext for a growing number of conflicts and not just with Russia.
"It is fitting to recall the main achievement of the first Cold War – a mechanism for minimizing risks minimization and mutual containment. But since, as opposed to the previous period, we have only one player, who is superior to all others in terms of might, we should consider a joint effort to contain this player. Russia by itself cannot cope with this. If we are talking of responses to U.S. policy, then we should speak of the painstaking construction of situational, constantly changing alliances which confront the U.S. in various directions and issues…"
(Lenta.ru, July 31, 2017)
Fyodor Lukyanov (Source: Youtube.com)
Lukyanov: The Beginning Of Sanctions War
In his comments to the newspaper Kommersant, Lukyanov noted that sources within the State Department have already warned that they would consider Russian countermeasures as "a standalone action", thus according to the expert a new round of U.S. retaliatory measures is inevitable.
Vassily Kashin, a senior research fellow at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, asserted that Moscow has no remaining hopes for improved relations with the Trump administration.
(Vedomosti.ru, July 31, 2017)
Political Expert Makarkin: Russia Perceives Trump As A Weak Leader
Political expert Alexey Makarkin does not out that further Russian countermeasures may include limitations on cooperation with the West within Russia. For example, more NGOs may be considered to be "undesired organizations," difficulties in scientific exchanges, the commercial sphere might suffer a blow as well. The expert though does not think that a new Iron Curtain is possible. Concerning the U.S. President, Makarkin added: "Trump is being perceived in Russia as a weak leader, who gives way to the elites and lawmakers and therefore there is no point in worrying how they will treat him domestically in the States."
(Vedomosti.ru, July 31, 2017)
Political Expert Markov: The Bill Is Aimed Not At Russia, But At Trump
Sergey Markov, CEO of the Institute of Political Research:
"The sanctions' bill is aimed not at Russia, but at Donald Trump. This bill is just a part of a broader strategy of impeaching the acting president of the U.S. In fact, we may talk about preparations for a coup d'état in America, which is being launched in a purely American format."
(Svpress.ru, August 3, 2017)
RIA Columnist Lepekhin: The American Establishment Is An Evil Force, Dreaming Of Possessing The World
Vladimir Lepekhin (Source: Rusarminfo.ru)
Vladimir Lepekhin, a columnist for the RIA news agency, wrote the following in his column:
"The American establishment has conclusively ripped off the mask and shown itself in the true light as a greedy, cowardly and evil force, which dreams of taking over the world singlehandedly – not even to manage the world, but to rule it. This means that the U.S. has yet again affirmed its hostility towards the majority of non-western states and this also signifies that the U.S. stops being an authority for many western states also.
"The American Congress by adopting the decision against Russia (as well as against Iran and N.Korea) exposed its racist nature, of which it is not ashamed, but rather proud of… Animalistic and predatory interests are what propels America's entire politics. All the world's countries currently face the same choice: to voluntarily become the hegemon's victim or start the resistance.
"It's no secret that the US is ruled neither by the President or Congress or the State Department, but by transnational companies conjoined with the special services (security agencies). These companies are currently losing many international markets. The desire to retain the positions by forceful means may serve as a boomerang getting back to Washington. The American hegemony is provoking growing irritation resentment.
"Predatory animals are exceptionally dangerous when wounded. Usually a deadly wounded animal gets killed immediately before it has time to do more damage. This does not mean that the author of these lines suggests annihilating the U.S. On the contrary, Russia always stresses that ordinary Americans are not our enemies. It was not they who declared war upon us but the transnational oligarchy that is ready for a quick profit to eradicate any state, including America itself...
"Announcing sanctions on Russia means that the Americans are scared of the Russians. This fear is irrational and caused by the lopsided education. The American intellectuals are usually technocrats, humanities languish in the country and thus few really understand the Russian culture. Consequently fear, stemming from a lack of understanding, arises.
"The American 'analysts' are judging the Russian leadership's policy by their own egoistic view of normal and abnormal. For the Americans it is normal to pursue material profit at any price and it is abnormal for them to be altruistic, principled and equitable."
(Ria.ru, July 31, 2017)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7037, Russia-Government Funded Think Tank: The Hidden Target Of The New Round Of U.S. Sanctions Is To Undermine The German Economy, August 3, 2017.