John Smith spoke to Foreign Policy about the Biden administration coming under pressure to take sanctions action against Russia in the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who went on a hunger strike last month to demand access to an independent doctor while serving a nearly three-year sentence for violating the terms of probation in a previous case.

"You certainly want to stop behavior rather than punish it afterward," John said.

He added: "The danger with relying on pure conduct-based sanctions is that they may appear relatively weak...[there's not a lot of return in] going after the relatively small cadre of officials and Russian government agencies that may be involved, many of whom may hold no assets outside of Russia."

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