[US to Russia 2014] Sergio Barrios: No Simple Answers

05-15-2014 posted by Acypl



Group shot with fists

I distinctly remember receiving the email informing me that I had been selected to be part of the ACYPL delegation to Russia, and I could not have been more excited. But as the days to the trip decreased, the political tension in the region increased. We landed into Moscow last Saturday and one of the first things we began to notice is that while the people were nice, there seemed to be tension below the surface.

We soon learned that in Russia the issue of Ukraine and the Crimea occupies more than half of all news coverage, while in the US it is only a fraction. We have also seen how sanctions are impacting the average Russian citizen and many US companies. We saw that sanctions had hit companies, such as Visa and MasterCard, and that they had stopped doing business. I could only imagine the distress it would cause to not be able to access your own money…

We were asked in a high level meeting at the Duma, “What you would do if you were in Obama’s position?” but none of us felt equipped to answer that because there is no simple answer. And that is telling of what the situation is like on the ground. In case there was any doubt, nothing is ever simple.

Sergio Barrios is the vice president of government affairs for Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

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