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US Senate to consider Magnitsky Act

December 05, 2012, 11:18 UTC+3

The U.S. Senate plans to adopt a tougher variant of a bill on visa sanctions against Russian officials allegedly involved in the Magnitsky case

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Russian newspapers write about a bill cancelling the Jackson-Vanik amendment that includes the Magnitsky Act put on Wednesday’s agenda of the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. Senate plans to adopt a tougher variant of a bill on visa sanctions against Russian citizens, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily wrote. This variant specifically targets Russia and not all other countries, where human rights are violated, as U.S. legislators consider.

This very document imposing visa sanctions for Russian officials allegedly involved in the Magnitsky case and simultaneously cancelling the Jackson-Vanik amendment was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 16, the Vechernyaya Moskva daily recalled. The U.S. Senate’s variant is considered milder – it envisages sanctions against persons violating human rights in all countries.

Many senators called for turning the so-called Magnitsky Law into a global document that will encompass all countries, where human rights are violated, Novye Izvestiya reported. As a result, they decided to agree with the approach of the lower house of the U.S. Congress for the sake of saving time.

The Kommersant business daily recalled that the document envisages sanctions against Russian officials involved the torture and death of a 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer of Hermitage Capital, Sergei Magnitsky, and the investigation of his death. The officials put on the black list will be banned an entry to the United States, while visas issued to them earlier will be annulled. Their accounts and property in America will be arrested. At the same time the bill cancels the Jackson-Vanik amendment that has been effective since 1974 and in fact, has had a purely symbolic meaning for a long while.

“Unfree and unfair” elections to Russia’s State Duma – as the U.S. sees them – speeded up consideration of the bill on the Magnitsky list, the daily reported. Experts warned that if the bill is adopted, this will strike a stronger blow to the reset between Moscow and Washington than discrepancies concerning other issues in the two countries’ relations will do.

Possible adoption of the Magnitsky law has already evoked Russia’s criticism, RBK daily reported. Thus, Russia’s Foreign Ministry described the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision to approve the anti-Russian legislative initiative as an unfriendly and provocative move.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also expressed discontent with the adoption of this bill. This step by the U.S. legislation will be given a tit-for-tat response “both symmetrical and asymmetrical,” he said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly announced that Russia’s reaction will follow. In particular, he emphasized that “the response will be adequate.”














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