The US Ministry of finance on Monday published its so-called ‘Kremlin list‘ of 210 Russian government officials, billionaire oligarchs and high-ranking businessmen that it claims have gained political and financial power under President Vladimir Putin, but stopped short of introducing new sanctions. The list includes 96 of Russia richest men including energy chiefs Igor Sechin (Rosneft) and Alexei Miller (Gazprom); the oligarchs Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska and Alisher Usmanov; and leading bankers including Herman Gref (Sberbank) and Andrei Kostin (VTB).
Speaking to an audience of supporters at an election campaign event in Moscow, dismissed the list with a proverb: “The dogs bark, but the caravan keeps going,” he described the list as an affront to all Russians that would harm bilateral relations, but dismissed its impact as an empty threat. “Average Russians stand behind the names on this list, so that means the entire country has been listed?.?.?.?We should carry on with our own business, and then they will realise that it’s pointless to make these lists, to threaten us,” he said.
More than 100 politicians and officials whom Washington believes owe their position to Putin’s patronage are also named, among them all the leaders of presidential administration, his assistants and advisers, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the entire Cabinet.
The US Treasury produced the report after congressional Republicans and Democrats pushed for the measure as a means of curbing President Donald Trump’s ability to to ease sanctions and comes as Trump continues to come under scrutiny over his relationship with Russia and its President.”Foreign governments and private sector entities have been put on notice….that significant transactions with listed Russian entities will result in sanctions,” it said in a statement released to coincide with publication of the list. . “If the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent.” The administration’s balking at new sanctions cheered Russian financial markets. After initially slipping on publication of the list of names Russian equities bounced back in early European trading.
Reaction in Russia has ranged from disappointment to defiance, with Russian business daily Vedomosti suggesting that the names of the oligarchs included in the list has probably been lifted from Forbes list of Russia’s top 200 richest people that was published last April.
Several of those named in the report took to social media to share their reactions which ranged from disappointment to defiance. Their comments were collated by the Moscow Times:
“I am indifferent ….All these individuals have been named de facto enemies of the United States” – Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman
“This looks like a ‘Who’s Who in Russian Politics’ book and nothing more” – Arkady Dvorkovich, deputy prime minister
‘It would be very disappointing not to be included in this company’ – Yury Trutnev, presidential envoy to Russia’s Far East
“Such an evaluation of my work as children’s ombudsman during this short period shows that we are on the right track toward our main goal — the happiness and well-being of Russian children” – Anna Kuznetsova, children’s rights ombudsman
“The west has never liked Russia, but these types of lists were unthinkable even in the worst periods in history” Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow mayor
“I got on the list because I’m an adviser to the president. It’s unclear why it took so long to compile though; they could have simply opened the Kremlin’s website and copied all of the advisers from there ” – Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlin human rights council
“They targeted the pianists who play for the people, not for the government… Our work is to protect the people from the government …I’ll just continue to do my job, part of which is to continue to restore relations with the West” – Boris Titov, business ombudsman and presidential candidate
“America is opening an ‘economic Guantanamo’ for business around the world” – Irina Yarovaya, State Duma deputy and author of controversial anti-terror legislation
The sentiments expressed by some of those not mentioned were equally mixed:
“Good list. Still unclear what consequences it will bring to the persons named, but it’s already good that they are officially recognized as crooks “- Alexei Navalny, opposition politician
“The consequences are extremely toxic and will undermine the prospects of cooperation for years to come. These [U.S.-Russian] relations will no longer be normal” – Konstantin Kosachev, head of the International Affairs Committee in the Federation Council
“I was expecting to visit [the Feb. 8 National Prayer Breakfast with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington]. The trip was meant precisely to establish dialogue. But now I don’t see the point in this trip” – Anatoly Aksakov, head of Russia’s financial market parliamentary committee