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Yuri Shuvalov: EU evades broad dialogue by imposing sanctions against Duma speaker

March 22, 2014, 20:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 22, /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union is evading broad dialogue by imposing sanctions against the speaker and members of the Russian State Duma, lower house of parliament, its deputy chief of staff Yuri Shuvalov said on Saturday, March 22.

“Personal sanctions against public officials and especially parliamentarians are a grave mistake,” he said and noted that parliamentary diplomacy was the only reliable channel for conducting objective dialogue between different nations.

“By publishing this list, our European colleagues are shunning away from dialogue on a broad range of issues and problems,” Shuvalov said, adding that the crisis in Ukraine was only one of them.

“The artificial self-isolation of Europe and the limitation of inter-parliamentary contacts are at odds with the real and political role of the representative branch of government in the modern world, especially in a situation where there is no other legitimate force,” he said.

Earlier this week, the European Union announced an enlarged “black list”, thus banning 12 Russian government officials from entering EU countries and ordering their accounts in European banks, if any, to be frozen.

The Official Journal of the European Union reported on Friday, March 21, that the EU sanctions list included Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin; presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, presidential aide Vladislav Surkov; Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Speaker Valentina Matvienko; State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin; Dmitry Kiselev, the director of the International News Agency Russia Today; two deputy commanders of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Alexander Nosatov and Valery Kulikov; Mikhail Malyshev, chairman of the Crimean Central Electoral Commission; Valery Medvedev, chairman of Sevastopol’s election committee; Colonel General Igor Turchenok; State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina.

Restrictions on them come into force from the day of publication, i.e. March 21.

The European Union published its first list of 21 sanctioned Russian and Crimean officials on March 17. Europe’s “black list” included eight Crimean leaders: Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov; Crimean State Council (parliament) Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev; Crimean Navy Commander Denis Berezovsky; Sevastopol Mayor Alexei Chalyi; Security Service Head Pyotr Zima; Yuri Zherebtsov, adviser to the Crimean State Council chairman; and Sergei Tsekov, head of the Russian Community of Crimea.

The list also included 13 Russians: Viktor Zero, the head of the Russian Federation Council Defence Committee; Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs; Andrei Klishas, head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation; Nikolai Ryzhkov, a representative of Russia’s Belgorod region at the Federation Council; Evgeny Bushmin, vice-speaker of the Russian Federation Council; Alexander Totoonov, member of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy; Oleg Panteleyev, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Regulation and Organisation of Parliamentary Activity; Sergei Mironov, leader of the Just Russia party faction at the Russian State Duma; State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak; and Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Ties with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky.

Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko, the Russian Black Sea Fleet commander; Commander of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov, and Commander of the Southern Military District Alexander Galkin were also blacklisted.

All in all, the European Union’s blacklist for Russia includes 33 officials whom the EU considers to be personally responsible for Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

Commenting on similar U.S. sanctions against Russian officials, Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said this move was “nothing but an attempt by Western politicians to justify themselves in the eyes of the public and shift responsibility for their own failures to our country.”

They led “Ukraine to chaos, the deepest political crisis and loss of life”, he said.

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