Friday Apr 12, 201312:35 PM GMT
Russia warns US against publishing names on its blacklist
Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:33PM
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President Barack Obama signed the so-called Magnitsky Act in December, 2012.


Mosocw has reiterated that the forthcoming identification of Russian officials on Washington’s ‘Magnitsky List’ blacklist will deteriorate bilateral relations between the two countries, and promised immediate reciprocal action.

 

Russia has its own list of U.S. officials that would be similarly sanctioned under the ‘Dima Yakovlev law,’ and will release those names when the United States publishes the names on the Magnitsky List, Kommersant daily reported, quoting an unnamed source in the Russian presidential administration.

 

The Russian list initially included 71 names, but has recently been expanded to 104 U.S. officials, the source noted, adding that this step was taken as a reciprocal measure after Moscow began to suspect that the U.S. blacklist could be longer than 60 names.

 

Kommersant also said that the head of the lower house commission for international relations, Aleksey Pushkov, confirmed its report “in principle.”

 

One possible complication is that the U.S. could classify the Magnitsky List under the umbrella of ‘national security.’ Since Russia has not released any official details about its own blacklist, it is uncertain if the names on the Dima Yakovlev law would likewise be classified as national security threats in the name of reciprocity.

 

The final draft of the Magnitsky List will now be sent to the U.S. Congress and published before April 13. This date is particularly important, as it falls on the previously postponed visit to Russia by U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, who is expected to meet top Russian security officials on Monday. Donilon will also reportedly deliver a message from U.S. President Barack Obama expressing a desire to salvage the stalled ‘reset’ in Russia-U.S. relations.

 

In Friday comments, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the publication of the Magnitsky List would have a definitively negative impact on bilateral relations between the two nations. At the same time, Peskov explained that Russia-U.S. relations were multidimensional, and that “even while being under a burden of various negative manifestations and taking damage from these manifestations, these relations still have a lot of perspectives for future relations.”

 

“Therefore, there will always be a lot of topics for discussion,” Peskov concluded.

 

The official objective of Donilon’s visit to Moscow was announced as talks over nuclear arms control and ballistic missile defense, as well as preparations for Obama’s future visit to Russia.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the blacklist issue with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in London earlier this week. The Russian Minister warned that the publication of names on the Magnitsky List would create an extremely negative climate for Donilon’s visit.

 

On Friday, Lavrov reiterated that the timing of the publication of the U.S. blacklist was extremely poorly chosen, considering Donilon’s forthcoming visit. Lavrov also told reporters that if the list is published, Russia would react accordingly, and that the U.S. side is aware of this.

 

Top Russian officials have repeatedly blasted the Magnistky Act as an attempt to subvert the laws of a sovereign country, and also to exploit a human tragedy for political ends.

 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in January this year that the PR campaign around Sergey Magnitsky’s death was “an attempt of certain citizens to accumulate political capital." He accused these individuals of making billions of dollars by trading in Russian assets, and assuming political positions only after law enforcement had uncovered fraud. RT

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

On Dec. 14, President Barack Obama signed the so-called Magnitsky Act, which blacklists Russian officials allegedly implicated in the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. AFP

 

On the very same day, Russian legislators gave initial approval to a bill that would impose sanctions on Americans accused of human rights violations. AP

 

The Dima Yakovlev Law, Russia’s reply to the U.S. Magnitsky Act, was approved by the State Duma on December 21, 2012 and approved by the Federation Council on December 26, 2012. RT

 

The Dima Yakovlev Law specifies “measures against persons involved in abuse of fundamental human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens”. RT

 

Russia says the United States uses human rights as a pretext for meddling in the affairs of sovereign states around the world. The Huffington Post

 

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized “medieval” conditions at Guantanamo Bay as he backed lawmakers’ retaliation against U.S. human-rights sanctions. Bloomberg

 

AN/ISH

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