Former Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said at the Davos economic forum that relations between Russia and the West will be normalized and sanctions will be lifted.
"I am confident that the sanctions will soften at the end of this year. Russia is not going to keep up the confrontation, I think that the conflict on sanctions will be resolved through the Minsk Agreements," he said.
According to Kudrin, "Russia has never renounced the development of a market economy, democracy and integration into the world economy."
"We're not trying to prove to each other that we are so different that each will go his own way. We are absolutely united in determining the value of a market economy and democracy," Kudrin added.
According to him, Russia will return to all the world’s formats, including the G8 "after some negotiation or a new dialogue," Interfax reports.
He also expressed hope that the first steps towards each other will be made at the Munich conference, which will be held on February 12-14.
Kudrin also forecast economic growth in Russia in 2017. "2017 probably will be a year of zero or positive growth," he believes.
A senior research officer of the Center for European Studies (University) at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Olenchenko, stressed in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza that "there is quite a large range of opinions on the issue of sanctions in the EU."
"The EU imposed sanctions in the summer of 2014. Now they have been renewed till summer 2016," Olenchenko reminded.
"Why are there semi-annual periods usually? This is due to the EU regulations, according to which summits are held twice a year," he added.
Kudrin does not hope for June, according to his statement, he probably expects it at the December summit, Olenchenko believes. "This can be explained by the fact that all the predictions circulating in the international space are due to the fact that improvement of the world economy is possible." "In the worst case, the economies of all countries are isolated. And, accordingly, it concerns the European Union and Russia to a certain extent," Olenchenko said. The optimistic scenario, in his opinion, is that all countries "will be developing, which requires the development of markets, so there is a direct interest of both the European Union and Russia".
Speaking about the possible return of Russia to the G8, he noted that this format needs to be changed. "I do not rule out that if the Russian leadership will take the decision to return, the first issue to be discussed will be the question of changing the operating mode of this format," the senior research officer of the Center for European Studies (University) at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs concluded.
An associate professor in the Institute of Business Administration and Management of RANEPA, Candidate of Economic Sciences Teimuraz Vashakmadze, is skeptical about the prospects for completion of the sanctions war. "I believe that we will not see the lifting of sanctions in 2016, because it would mean that the EU accepts the annexation of Crimea," he warned.
According to him, Europe has adapted to its own sanctions. "Of course, there were problems in individual agricultural companies, but, on the whole, European business has already reconstructed. It is premature to say that Europe has an urgent need to remove the sanctions: the EU is not ready yet," Teimuraz Vashakmadze said.
He explained that, in the first place, Russia itself needs the easing of sanctions against the banking system.
Teimuraz Vashakmadze praised the prospects of Russia's return to G8. "Russia's return to G8 is theoretically possible. Of course, not as a full member, but for consultations, especially for cases related to Syria," he said.