Whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was 37 years old when he died in a Russian prison.© AFP 2013/ HO / Hermitage Capital Management
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MOSCOW/WASHINGTON, July 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry reacted angrily Friday to statements from US officials this week that Washington could expand the so-called Magnitsky List, a blacklist freezing the US assets and imposing travel bans on alleged Russian rights abusers.
“We have explained repeatedly that the “war of blacklists” started by Washington is unquestionably a dead end, dooming Russian-US relations to fruitless confrontation,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry statement came in response to US Senate testimony given Thursday by Victoria Nuland, who has been nominated to become deputy US secretary of state, and Daniel Baer, US President Barack Obama’s nominee for the post of US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Both Nuland and Baer told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that they support adding more names to the blacklist as stipulated under the Magnitsky Act, a US law enacted in December to target Russians that Washington considers complicit in the 2009 death of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as other Russians accused of rights abuses.
“My bureau has been involved in producing the first list, and we do see it as an ongoing project and we plan to add names to the list,” Baer, who currently serves as US deputy assistant secretary of state, said in response to a question from Sen. John McCain, a fierce Kremlin critic.
In April, Washington released the names of 18 officials targeted by the Magnitsky Act sanctions and said a handful of other Russians had been placed on a classified sanctions list in the interests of US national security.
This list incensed Russia, which issued its own blacklist of 18 US officials described by Moscow as having been connected with the US’s infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba or as having violated the rights of Russians abroad.
Nuland, a former US State Department spokeswoman nominated by Obama to become assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told Thursday’s hearing that the Magnitsky blacklist would be expanded as necessary.
“Our work on the list is ongoing and we will add names as we are able to,” Nuland said.
In its statement Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the Obama administration of being cowed by “rabid Russophobes” on Capitol Hill like McCain and Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a co-author of the Magnitsky Act, and said Moscow would respond to an expanded Magnitsky List by adding more US officials to its own blacklist.
The ministry suggested Friday that US officials tied to a secret government surveillance program exposed last month by fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden could be added to the Russian blacklist.
“There is no shortage of candidates for our current ‘Guantanamo List,’ especially taking into account the recent high-profile disclosures about mass-scale US Congress-sanctioned violations by US special services of the privacy of telephone conversations and correspondence all over the world, including the infringement of the corresponding rights of Russians,” the ministry said.
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- tec123Stand up Mr. Putin one way or the other who know deep down the US is never sincere when it come to Russia and will never be 100%08:50, 13/07/2013And Russia should be scared right?
What a bunch of hard stones Viagra taking men these are?
Snowden should stay inside Russia because Russia should know that the US will always double cross Russia in one way or another, and it’s a shame there are some Russian who will gladly sink Russia when it come to the US dollar.
Do Russia really believes that the West has Russians interest at heart no their aim and only aim is to break up Russia into separate countries and will do all they can until that is been fulfilled.
Putin has to be very careful for who know maybe tunnels are been dug, weapons been stock piled, men at the ready, the Russian oppositions and NGO’s been brief, and maybe some Russian military personnel are been groomed for this down fall of the Russia federation in the future same happened with Syria the war was planned long ago just look at the tunnels they could not of been just dug in two years.
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.