The U.S. Government has placed senior russian politicians and pro-kremlin businessmen on a controversial list, triggering massive criticism in moscow.
President vladimir putin called the document an "unfriendly act" that further complicates already complicated relations with the u.S. "Of course, the list harms international relations as a whole," putin said in moscow on tuesday, according to the interfax agency. His spokesman dmitry peskov said, "de facto, we have all been called enemies of the u.S."Russian politicians assume that the document could serve as a basis for sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury department had earlier released a list naming more than 200 senior russian politicians and businessmen with close ties to the kremlin. Among others, it mentions head of government dmitry medvedev, deputy minister sergei lavrov and defense minister sergei shoigu. A total of 114 politicians and 96 oligarchs are listed, such as rosneft head igor sechin and gazprom chairman alexei miller.
The U.S. Government followed a sanctions bill passed by congress in the summer of 2017 with the support of both republicans and democrats and requested such a list from. It was a response to moscow’s alleged interference in the U.S. Election and influence in the war in eastern ukraine. President donald trump, however, had been extremely reluctant to sign the bill: he argued that it unconstitutionally tied his hands.
The deadline set by congress expired on tuesday night. The government waited until virtually the last minute to make the required list public. On new sanctions
however, they refrained from doing so, at least for the time being: the sanctions law had already had a steaming effect on coarser deals with russian companies in the defense sector, it said in justification. But russia should be warned.
A washington state department official said tuesday that U.S. Authorities and embassies had interfered with politics and business in numerous countries. As a result, several billion dollars worth of russian transactions have already been stopped, without the need for sanctions at all. "This is money that just doesn’t love russia and the kremlin," he said.
Putin warned not to pay too much attention to the list. The listed people should rather devote themselves to russia’s politics. "Then we will realize that no list can threaten our development, put the brakes on it, or intimidate us," he said.
According to the U.S. Ministry, the businessmen were put on the list according to their assets. The politicians accused are mainly current ministers, kremlin advisers, or former members of the government. According to experts, it is not entirely clear how washington compiled the list. "It is probably so broad as to avoid any specific questions," said u.S. Expert pawel scharikov of the russian academy of sciences. "At the same time, trump can boast in his state of the nation address that he has a handle on the russia problem," he told the deutsche presse agency.
Ex-finance minister alexei kudrin called the list illogical. Therefore it is necessary to react with serenity. According to head of government medvedev, the whole law leads to discrimination against russia. "It will poison our contacts and relations for a long time," he said.
The document also provoked ridicule in moscow. "The list looks like the "who is who"" russian politics," said deputy head of government arkady dvorkovich. Washington merely copied the phone directory of the kremlin, wrote aub politician konstantin kossachev on facebook. "This is political paranoia that is very difficult to deal with."Kremlin chief putin joked about the fact that his name was missing from the list: "what a shame!"
The russian ambassador to the USA, anatoly antonov, asked: "do these people think that the camp was destroyed? … Really, that we will now tuck our tails and not defend our positions?"