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State Duma gives tit-for-tat response to Magnitsky act

December 11, 2012, 11:31 UTC+3
According to experts, such an exchange of the "blacklists" could set back progress made during the period of the bilateral relations “reset”
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On Monday, a bill was submitted to the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament that is a response measure to the US Magnitsky Act. According to the bill, the US citizens involved in violating the rights of Russians would not be able to enter the territory of the Russian Federation, any deals with property and investments in Russia will be banned for them, and their assets will be arrested. After the adoption of the law, the American citizens, involved in violating the rights of Russians will not be able to enter the territory of Russia. According to experts, such an exchange of the ‘blacklists’ could set back progress made during the period of the bilateral relations “reset.”

The ban on entry into Russia for certain categories of Americans is proposed as the “retaliation,” the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily emphasises. The sanctions will be applied to those who have committed crimes against Russians abroad. And it turns out that if an American in Venice steals a purse from a Russian – he hypothetically could be included in the “blacklist,” and if an Italian steals a purse from a Russian – he will not be blacklisted. In addition, the exclusion will be applied to the “US citizens vested with state authority,” the actions or inaction of which helped such criminals avoid responsibility, all those involved in the abduction and unlawful imprisonment of Russian citizens, who passed “unfounded and unjust” sentences on Russian nationals, who “unreasonably” juridically persecute Russian citizens or who have only made “unjustified” decisions against the legitimate interests of Russians and Russian organisations.

The authors of the draft law “On Measures Against Persons Involved in the Violation of the Rights of Russian Citizens” are State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and the leaders of four Duma factions, the Kommersant daily writes. Such solidarity manifestations are extremely rare in the legislative body.

“Both acts – the US and Russian – are inadequate, and both are political,” expert of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy Sergei Karaganov said. He admitted that that “the Americans started it,” and the response step is usually commensurate, as in the case of mutual expulsion of “spies or so-called spies.” However, in his opinion, the Russian side “could deal with the Magnitsky case more thoroughly than the American.” In recent years, Russian-American relations have normalised, but if both parties “engage in a ‘spitting contest,’ they can arrives at the Cold War revival,” Karaganov said.

“Another round of information war, linked with the Magnitsky list should be considered as part of the transition from the ‘reset’ regime to a more stringent language and actions,” believes Director General of the Institute of Foreign Policy Research and Initiatives Veronika Krasheninnikova, who is quoted by the RBC Daily. And leader of the Ekooborona (Ecological Defence) movement Yevgenia Chirikova who in 2011 visited the United States, said ironically that after the adoption of the promised ‘blacklist’ by Russia “the Americans will shudder.” “Oh, really, it's very scary to get on the list of our State Duma. But I think it’s not worth a serious discussion, we have enough of our own problems and should be on the watch to prevent killings of our own activists,” she said.

 

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