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Russian President Vladimir Putin, talks to Rosneft president Igor Sechin during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 2, 2013. The United States has imposed sanctions against seven Russian government officials and 17 companies, including Mr. Sechin and Rosneft.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, talks to Rosneft president Igor Sechin during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 2, 2013. The United States has imposed sanctions against seven Russian government officials and 17 companies, including Mr. Sechin and Rosneft.
(MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)

In Russian standoff, current sanctions just a nuisance

The capital markets are becoming an increasingly uncomfortable and costly place for the Russians to do business. Even before an S&P rating cut last week that left government debt at the edge of investment grade, the finance ministry was cancelling bond auctions – seven in the past two months – because it refused to meet investor demands for hefty, junk-like premiums to hold the paper.