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Course Application


Prof. Laura Brank, Managing Partner of Dechert, Moscow

Prof. Brank introduces the course (note: video was produced in 2017)

Since March 2014, the US, the EU and certain other countries have imposed a series of complex sanctions on Russian and other related individuals and legal entities. These sanctions, which range from complete bans on doing business (blocking sanctions) to restrictions on financing specified entities or providing equipment and technology to sectors of the Russian economy (sectoral sanctions), have had a continuing impact on trade and investment in Russia.

As is well known, since late-February 2022, these sanctions have dramatically increased and are expected to severly impact commercial relations with Russia well into the future. 

Notwithstanding extensive press on the sanctions, many commentators/analysts/investors still do not understand how these unique sanctions actually work, and companies remain uncertain how to deal with the sanctions regimes and how to protect themselves from penalties or fines when conducting business.  This course aims to change that.

This twelve hour, one credit course, held in six, two-hour sessions, covers the history and legislative basis for sanctions, the types of sanctions imposed, including import and export controls, blocking sanctions and sectoral sanctions, secondary sanctions under CAATSA, case studies involving companies and individuals fined for sanctions violations, how companies can continue to do business in compliance with the sanctions, and how to litigate improper application of sanctions. We will look mainly at US sanctions, but will also cover EU sanctions, UN actions, and Russian counter sanctions measures.

Approximate Schedule of Topics:

Class 1

  • Introduction to the history, purpose and legal structures of international economic sanctions
  • Brief overview of the legal bases of the UN, US and EU sanctions programs
  • Brief overview of the organizations that administer sanctions in the US and the current sanctions regimes against Russia
  • Brief intro the EU (and now separate UK) Russia sanctions regimes
  • Differences between types of sanctions

Class 2

  • Briefly review and clarify any questions from the previous class or the readings
  • US blocking sanctions--the Russia SDN List and its application
  • The 50% Rule
  • Focus on sectoral (SSI) sanctions and their application in the finance, oil and gas and defense sectors

Class 3

  • Briefly review and clarify any questions from the previous class or the readings
  • Practical aspects of sanctions compliance, such as KYC procedures, contractual protections and other strategies for avoiding sanctions penalties
  • US legislation codifying Russia related sanctions (CAATSA) theory and application
  • Intro to export controls and export administration regulations and licensing
  • De minimus rules

Class 4

  • Briefly review and clarify any questions from the previous class or the readings
  • Continue discussing US sactions regimes
  • Focus on EU, UK and other sanctions regimes, export controls and case studies
  • Examine UN sanctions on certain countries and how this affects Russian business trade in those countries

Class 5

  • Briefly review and clarify any questions from the previous class or the readings
  • US:  penalties / fines; factors considered by OFAC when imposing penalties
  • Sanctions compliance programs and best practices (including end-user certifications etc.)
  • The process for obtaining exemptions or removing a party from sanctions

Class 6

  • Briefly review and clarify any questions from the previous class or the readings
  • Finish up any material or exercises from previous classes
  • Review counter-sanctions measures imposed by Russia (including re litigation/arbitration and financial restrictions) and how to deal wtih them
  • Discuss the effect of "shadow sanctions" spurred by social pressure and the media
  • Wrap up and predictions for the future


The materials will be provided electronically via Moodle. There is no book to be purchased, although some books and paid on-line materials may be recommended.

Attendance Policy:
This course is offered credit/no-credit only. There is no exam, although there may be some pass/no pass quizzes in class to encourage you to do the readings and stimulate discussion. 90% attendance is required to get credit for the course. There are only 6 classes, so it's not outrageous to ask you to attend them all. This means that you have attend 10.8 out of the 12 hours. If you are regularly late for 15 minutes or a half hour, this could affect your ability to pass the class. Asynchronous participation does not generally count as class attendance. If force majeure or employers cause you to miss more than 10% of the synchronous course, please talk to the professor immediately to see what can be done to make up the time, most likely by watching the official class recording and preparing a presentation or some written work.

Recording Policy:
This class applies Chatham House Rules: no private recordings are allowed, and remarks made by members of the class should not be attributed to the person making the remarks. The course will be officially recorded for members of the course only, to facilitate any difficulties in understanding online. The professor will control the recording and may order it turned it at some points during the class. All recordings will be deleted soon after the end of the course.

Some guest speakers and students may want to raise sensitive situations regarding their own companies and clients, and this interesting discussion can be stifled if someone is privately recording the lecture. So please respect this policy so that everyone can feel comfortable bringing up real questions and proposed solutions.

Admission to the Course:
This course is taught entirely in English. Admission to Pericles' LLM program, or an interview in English is required to enter the course. Pericles cannot accept into this course anyone whose course is being paid by an individual or entity blocked by U.S. sanctions. Persons whose tuition is being paid by entities that are only on the sectoral sanctions list, however, can be admitted.