Switzerland, historically neutral, in turn imposes sanctions on Russia

Switzerland, historically neutral, in turn imposes sanctions on Russia

In the land of slow “Better late than never” in order to take An important decision that will mark a milestone in the history of Swiss neutrality. The editors commented, without going into much of the pressure being exerted from all sides on the Swiss executive. While it has been slowing since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, alarm has been mounting both within the country (demonstrations in Bern and Geneva on Saturday 26 February) and abroad. That it would finally take over all EU sanctions against Russia and that it would freeze the assets of those targeted. A real revolution, as the Alpine country preferred to refrain from such measures in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. She then invoked her impartiality and status as a potential mediator, always ready to offer her “good offices”.

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During a rather solemn press conference attended by four of the seven members of the Federal Councils, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Cassis, who is also the Federation President for the current year, explained that “Playing the game of the aggressor is not neutral. As a trustee of the Geneva Convention, we are required to respect humanitarian law and we cannot remain spectators when it is trampled upon.”

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While countries such as Sweden and Finland, which are also neutral but members of the European Union, now send weapons to Ukraine to defend themselves, the change in faith in Switzerland is explained primarily by a desire to avoid damaging the brutal image. Jean-Marc Rickley, director of global risk management at the Geneva Center for Security, notes that “the government has clearly recognized that its strict neutrality position will no longer be understood by its European neighbors and much of the international community.” Policy. The legal interpretation of this neutrality provoked much gnashing of teeth in parties of the left and right. The position of waiting for the Federal Council has become unacceptable. On the Swiss political spectrum, only the far-right populist party has opposed sanctions.

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The decision is not trivial. For three decades, Russian oligarchs in Switzerland have found all the services they need to turn their rubles into safe investments or hide them in complex external structures. Private bankers, lawyers, notaries, tax experts, real estate agents and brokers are very interested in clients who have gradually acquired as much importance as those in the Gulf, which have been in use for a long time. Many solutions, few questions asked about the origin of the funds, the legendary appreciation, the luxury private colleges for boys. The Russians made Geneva one of their favorite stadiums in Europe, just like London, which became “Londongrad”.

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