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MOSCOW, March 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Kremlin has pledged to back up the Russians who are on the Western sanctions list. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov underscored the absurd character of these sanctions, saying the reasons for including the individuals and legal entities in the blacklists could not be explained in a rational way.
On March 20, the U.S. added 20 new surnames of Russian officials falling under sanctions, among which are Russian presidential advisor Andrey Fursenko, President of the Russian railways Company /RZD/ Vladimir Yakunin, chief of the presidential property department Vladimir Kozhin, major shareholder of the Volga Group company Gennady Timchenko as well as Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, the Mostotrest company co-owners, and Yuri Kovalchuk, the major shareholder of the Rossiya Bank.
President Vladimir Putin reacted with the surprise and irony when the saw that Kovalchuk, Timchenko and the Rotenbergs had fallen under U.S. sanctions.
“Typical Moskals,” - Putin said ironically answering a reporters’ question. “Here they are these polite people in military uniform, wearing masks and holding submachine guns in their hands,” Putin said sarcastically implying that these business people had no relationship to the troubles around Crimea and Ukraine whatsoever.
“Their surnames seem a bit strange - Kovalchuk, Rotenberg and Timchenko,” the president said with a smile. “Typical Moskals and I think we should keep away from them.”
The surnames like 'Kovalvhuk' and 'Timchenko' are usually regarded in Russia as the ones typical of ethnic Ukrainians, while 'Rotenberg' is indicative of a person's German or Jewish origin but not of being a Moskal a derogatory colloquialism widely used in the modern-day Ukraine to denote a person of Russian ethnicity.
The head of state made public his intention to receive his salary at the Rossiya bank that also fell under the Western sanctions.
“As you already know, I have said that I am planning to open an account there,” he said. “Moreover, I ordered the property department to transfer my salary there because the bank has such a sonorous and symbolic name /Rossiya means Russia - Itar-Tass/.”
Chief of the Russian presidential staff Sergey Ivanov does not rule out a possibility of opening an account at the Rossiya bank following the president’s example. “Why not?” he told reporters in English replying to a question about this.
Speaking about sanctions against him personally, Ivanov dubbed them as “average and routine” explaining that he “had been under a lifetime ban to enter most of the Western countries" during his work for the Intelligence Service.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said about the U.S. policy of sanctions that “There’s one law for the rich and another for the poor.”
Lavrov said the U.S. treated the international law in line with that English proverb and he advised the White House to “find some other ways for domineering.”
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin believes his name on the list of sanctions “does not cost a grain of the Crimean land.”
“Had the countries all over the world put me on the sanction list, this would not cost the smallest grain of the Crimean land reunified with Russia,” he posted on a social network.
President of the Russian Railways Company Vladimir Yakunin has praised the appearance of his name in the blacklist as justification of his contribution to the promotion of Russian interests.
“I have found myself in a decent company and, I won’t conceal that, I was even flattered as all of the people under sanctions are prominent personalities who have done a lot for Russia,” Yakunin said.
“It’s beyond my comprehension how sensible people even seized by political passions can take the decisions like these ones,” he wrote on his blog.
Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko recommended the American government to impose sanctions on the entire composition of the upper house of Russia’s parliament referring to the Russian lawmakers’ statement in which the sanctions are dubbed “an act of unprecedented political blackmail.