MOSCOW, March 21, 3:25 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg have described the United States’ decision to put them on the list of personalities subjected to the newly-introduced sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s recognition of the independence referendum in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and the subsequent decision to sustain their request for admission as federation members as “indirect recognition of their services to Russia.”
A source in the businessmen’s inner circle said both responded to the news their names had been included in the list with a pinch of irony.
“Both interpreted the United States decision as indirect recognition of their services to the Russian state,” the source said.
The Russian railways company RZD, whose chief Vladimir Yakunin is on the US black list, too, has described the US Administration’s decision as “a consequence of the United States’ inadequate response to the free expression of private civic position on an issue of tremendous social and public importance in Russia.”
“Such measures utterly contradict the United States’ professed principles of the freedom of speech and opinion,” the RZD said.
Gennady Timchenko is multi-millionaire taking ninth place on the Forbes list of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen. He holds the controlling stakes in the companies Transoil (80 percent), and Stroigaz (63 percent). He also owns share packages of NOVATEK (23.5 percent), and SIBUR (37.3 percent). He began his business career as vice-president of the foreign trade organization Kinex, created at the Kirishi oil refinery, in the Leningrad Region, which eventually grew into Gunvor.
The United States on Thursday complemented the new sanctions list with the names of twenty Russian officials.
On the black list there are: Federation Council committee chairman Viktor Ozerov, Federation Council deputy committee Vladimir Dzhabarov, Federation Council deputy speaker Yevgeny Bushmin, Federation Council member Nikolai Ryzhkov, State Duma deputy speaker Sergei Zheleznyak, State Duma member Sergei Mironov, Federation Council member Aleksandr Totoonov, State Duma committee first deputy chairman Oleg Panteleyev, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, chief of the federal drug control service FSKN Viktor Ivanov, chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff Igor Sergun, deputy chief of the presidential staff Sergei Ivanov, his first deputy Aleksei Gromov, presidential aide Andrei Fursenko, president of the Russian railways company RZD Vladimir Yakunin, chief of the presidential staff Vladimir Kozhin, businessmen Gennady Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg, and Yuri Kovalchyuk and the bank Rossiya.
President Barack Obama said he had signed a new executive order enabling the US Administration to take sanctions against “the key sectors of the Russian economy.” He agreed, though, that the use of such punitive measures might harm the world economy in general.