Analyze this: EU bans research & consulting on Russian companies

© Francois Lenoir
The EU is trying to tighten the screws on investment in Russia. It has now forbidden European banks from consulting investors and providing analysis of Russian firms under sanctions. This includes Sberbank, VTB and Rosneft, but excludes Gazprom and Aeroflot.

The document was issued by the European Commission a month ago, but proved to be so obscure that Russian media only managed to dig it up today.

“While the provision of research is formally different from the provision of advice, it constitutes by its nature a form of indirect advice. The analysis contained in the research document indeed helps a potential investor in taking his/her decisions,” said a statement from the European Commission.

“This may concern, for example, the decision as to whether to 'hold', 'buy', or 'sell' a particular security. In sum, the provision of financial research should be seen as a form of investment service and is thus prohibited under the Regulation,” the statement added.

In July and September 2014 the European Union imposed restrictions on a number of Russian banks. In particular, the sanctions affected state-owned Sberbank, VTB, Vnesheconombank, Gazprombank and Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agriculture Bank). The banks were cut off from long-term (over 30 days) international financing.

The restrictions also affected oil companies, including Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom Neft (Gazprom’s oil subsidiary), and Transneft as well as the space and defense industry. In addition, the EU imposed restrictions against certain individuals.

However, the EU did not include other major Russian companies on the list.

The sanctions don't apply to Gazprom and its European partners - E.On, Shell, OMV and BASF/Wintershall - participating in the Nord Stream-2 project, providing Russian gas to Europe.

Russia’s Aeroflot was also left off the sanctions list, after Moscow warned of retaliation by banning Western airlines from Russian airspace.

READ MORE: Airlines lose billions amid rumors of trans-Siberian flight blockade

This June the EU extended Anti-Russian sanctions till 31 January 2016.