MOSCOW, March 22, /ITAR-TASS/. Western attempts to put up “an iron curtain” - visa barriers, economic or other restrictions - are ineffective and are advocated by “not very bright politicians”, Valentina Matviyenko, Chairperson of the Federation Council, upper house of Russian parliament, told Ren-TV’s Nedelya (Week) programme on Saturday, March 22.
“I can say with confidence that we will certainly not build the kind of ‘iron curtain’ for which the Soviet Union was criticised. If someone wants to try to put up such an ‘iron curtain’ visa barriers, economic or other restrictions - these are not very bright politicians, and this in ineffective,” she said.
Matviyenko believes that the decisions to impose sanctions against Russian citizens, politicians and government officials “can only be made out of helplessness, panic, agony and lack of understanding of the real situation and what is happening in Ukraine, but most importantly because of the absence of legal arguments for dialogue.”
She noted that these decisions would make no difference in her life as she has no bank accounts or real estate abroad. “I will never change my position of principle which I state and in which I believe,” she added.
Matviyenko also noted that “there are places to go to for a vacation” in Russia as well. “I have not yet seen all the beautiful places in Russia and this will give me a chance to travel around the country,” she said.
She believes that the deterioration of Russia’s relations with the United States and the European Union because of the events in Ukraine and Crimea will not lead to a new cold war. “Although the remnants of the Cold War pop up in the minds of some politicians and leaders from time to time, I think there are no reasons for that today, and no one is interested in a new cold war. It will seriously destabilise the situation in the world and have an adverse impact on the life of ordinary people in different countries,” Matviyenko said, adding that she could not recall “such rampancy of Russophobia and anti-Russian propaganda even during the Cold War”.
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.
The U.S. government on Monday, March 17, released a list of Russian and Ukrainian government officials subject to sanctions.
The list includes Vladislav Surkov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin; Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to President Putin; Leonid Slutsky, State Duma deputy; Andrei Klishas, member of the Council of Federation; Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko; Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin Dmitry Rogozin; MP Yelena Mizulina; Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov; Crimean State Council (parliament) Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov; Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of Ukrainian Choice; and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.