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MOSCOW, February 28 (Itar-Tass) – The refusal to issue a Russian entry visa to US Congress member Christopher Smith was quite foreseeable, the head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee Alexei Pushkov has told Itar-Tass.
“The situation was quite predictable. After the introduction of the Magnitsky Act in the United States and the adoption of Russia’s retaliatory law the US side was notified and must be perfectly aware of the entry restrictions introduced for a number of US officials,” he said.
Pushkov recalled that Russia’s “black lists” are absolutely proportionate to those introduced in the United States. Originally, there were eleven names on them. A short while later another 60 were added.
“As many were put on Russia’s lists,” Pushkov recalled.
He speculated that Russia’s black lists may be expanded, if necessary.
“This will become clear in the middle of April, when the US Administration tells Congress whether it will expand its lists in connection with the Magnitsky Act. If that does happen, the Russian side will do precisely the same,” the Russian legislator said.
Earlier, US congress member from the Democratic Party, Christopher Smith, of New Jersey, complained that he had been denied a Russian visa.
"The Magnitsky bill is the reason I didn't get the visa. This is the first time," Smith said. "I was shocked. During the worst days of the Soviet Union I went there repeatedly."
Smith is a member of the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs. He leads the human rights subcommittee. Smith often criticized the Russian authorities for the human rights situation. He is one of the co-authors of the Magnitsky Act in the lower house of Congress.