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Russia’s likely response to Magnitsky list

December 07, 2012, 12:12 UTC+3

US Senate passed the law repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment and introducing financial and visa sanctions against Russian officials, involved in death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky

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The US Senate on Thursday passed the law repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment and introducing financial and visa sanctions against Russian officials, involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The Senate members have no doubt that President Obama will sign the law before the New Year holidays, and promise that additions will be made to the Magnitsky list on a permanent basis. Moscow will give a commensurate response to the Magnitsky list, and the interests of American businesses will not be affected by it, the RF government has promised.

The RF Foreign Ministry promptly reacted to the adoption of the law, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily writes. The ministry called the decision of the American Senate “an absurdist theatre dramatics” and added that the “entire responsibility for this fully rests with the United States.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said that Russia will respond to the bill on the Magnitsky list with the ban on entry into Russia for US citizens who violate human rights.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper learnt from diplomatic sources that this measure will be applied to the Americans involved in high-profile scandals related to torturing of inmates in the notorious Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons, as well as persons involved in the actual abduction and illegal criminal prosecution in the United States of a number of Russian citizens. It is quite likely that some American lawmakers who worked especially hard on compiling the Magnitsky list, in particular, Senator from Maryland Benjamin Cardin, will also become “banned” for entry into Russia.

At the same time, speaking on Monday before American businessmen within the framework of Russia Day 2012 at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that measures that Moscow intends to take in response to the Magnitsky law will not affect the interests of foreign investors.

“Russia is preparing a response to the Magnitsky list. This is a political side of relations between Russia and the United States. I hope that this will not affect businessmen. Maybe it will affect the officials, but not businesspeople involved in mutual trade,” Igor Shuvalov said.

The Kommersant daily recalls that throughout the discussion of the Magnitsky Act in the United States, Russian officials have repeatedly warned that if the law is adopted, Moscow’s response will be tough and it will inevitably affect relations between the two countries.

“Our response will be completely commensurate,” a source in the Russian government told the newspaper. “We will include in the list the same number of people. If they add somebody later, we will also add. If they make public the names and assets - we will also reveal. There are plenty of candidates to our list: above all they are the persons involved in violations of the rights of Russian citizens in the United States – from the judges who make biased decisions over violence against adopted children from Russia to the persons involved in the cases of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko.”

According to the Kommersant source, Moscow does not plan incommensurate measures. “The conditions for American businesses’ operation in the Russian Federation will not be worsened,” the source assured the publication. “We are interested in economic cooperation and attracting investment. We will not act out of spite against someone to our detriment.”






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