Skip to comments.These Sanctions Against Russia Will Hurt, and It's the Russian Liberals Who Will Suffer
Posted on 03/20/2014 9:37:00 PM PDT by No One Special
Today, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on sixteen high-ranking Russian officials as well as four of Putin's best friends who, magically, have become multi-billionaires in the last decade. This, with a few notable people missing from the list, is the most inner of inner circles. These sanctions are going to sting, because these people aren't just multi-billionaires, but men who, because of their closeness to Putin, control much of the Russian economy: railroads, banks, construction, media. One of the men, Yury Kovalchuk, even had his bank, Rossiya, sanctioned.
These sanctions will not just ban travel to the U.S. or freeze assets (most of which these guys keep in Europe and in various tax shelters around the world), but will effectively bar them from participation in the world financial system. That is going to sting and it's going to hurt, and it's going to hurt in the exact right places. Sources inside the administration say that Europe's list of sanctions, which is forthcoming, overlaps very significantly with the American one. The administration is also discussing whether to distribute the sanctions to family members, given that these men officially may own very little themselves, but have stashed their wealth in shell companies, and wives and children who function as shell companies. But just having a last name that's on the U.S. Treasury sanctions list may be hurt enough. And, as the White House has emphasized repeatedly, this is only the beginning.
But there are people who are not on the list who are already cringing at the anticipation of the blow: Russian liberals. They were largely horrified by their country's invasion of Ukraine and are happy to see Putin's cronies punished by the West, but they know that the Kremlin, unable to lash out at Washington, will take its fury out on them. There's precedent for this: when Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, punishing those Russians involved in the gruesome death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Russia retaliated by...lashing out at its orphans and banning American adoptions of Russian children.
The Russian opposition has been withering since Putin returned to the presidency in May 2012, and Putin has already singled them out for punishment for their protests against him in 2011-2012. He has used the chaos in Crimea to clean house in Moscow, cracking down on independent media and locking up opposition leader Alexey Navalny under house arrest. In his big speech on Tuesday, Putin finally gave voice to what we knew he'd been thinking all along, calling them "a fifth column" and "traitors." After today's sanctions were announced, and the euphoria that followed, Navalny tweeted through his wife (the terms of his house arrest ban him from using the Internet): "Just so that there are no illusions: Somebody will have to pay for this happiness that the crooks are being sanctioned. Need to pack my bag for jail." Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail last summer on trumped up charges and his sentence was commuted, but the authorities took care to have a couple criminal cases open against him, just in case.
It's not that the crackdown is coming. The crackdown is already here, and the opposition--or what's left of it--has been grunting under its weight for the last two years. But now, it's about to get really, really bad. At least that's the fear. There's talk of closed borders and exit visas, arrests, unemployment because of political beliefs: You know, the kinds of things you do with traitors in Russia.
There's also talk of emigration. Those with Jewish ancestry are knocking on the door of the Israeli consulate in Moscow. Others are discussing green card lotteries, grasping at any possibility, however unlikely, to get out, and the possibilities are few and hard to get. After all, Russians aren't the only people in the world who want to emigrate to the West. Not everyone who opposes Putin wants to get out, of course, and someone needs to stay behind to help catch pieces of this strange edifice when it inevitably falls. But if Washington and Brussels are serious about human rights and democracy, they should offer a helping hand to those who will inevitably be the whipping boys when the sanctions really start to hurt.
The writer is a delusional lib.... none of these folks come to the US anyway and Europe won’t keep them out if it means a business deal
The anti-Putin opposition comes from Russia’s cities.
But the small towns and countryside are in no mood to return to the 90s...
“Russia retaliated by...lashing out at its orphans and banning American adoptions of Russian children.”
Ummmm, I think that might have had more to do with the fact that America was slouching towards Gomorrah, a specific abuse case in Texas, and an American homosexual who raped a Russian boy in Australia he adopted. I’m sure Russia not allowing their kids to be adopted by Belgians who may later have them killed in hospital with the blessings of the state is a ‘grave abuse’.
The fact is these sanctions are comical. These people have a million other places to launder money through and conduct their business, many of them right off our southern coast. I’m sure the Cayman Islands and Belize don’t give a damn about Crimea. Obama loses again and humiliates the country in the process. I have a feeling the sanctions passed against McCain and Reid etc. were less a serious retaliation and more a satirical swipe.
Neo-Commie Goes On Rampage - Liberals Hardest Hit
A Russian conservative to a Russian liberal.
This is stupid. These guys can create shell-corporations, front-companies and alternate identities in Russia and all over the world — especially with the assistance of Putin and pliable bureaucrats worldwide. Obama needs to understand that these are not frat boys on a university campus who can just be suspended to make them behave.
Money can buy any one.
Good luck on getting the sanctions enforced.
Obama gets a few guys Amazon Prime accounts suspended, big deal...
Funny. Putin did the exact same thing for the exact same reason to Obama and some of his entrenched, enriched cronies, including Reid, Kerry and McCain, et al.
That's stupid. Russia is already back in the 90s. The closing down of independent news stations, the murder of opponents, the bullying of its people, Putin is playing by a KGB playbook.
This is also stupid. Russia has no liberals and conservatives in the American sense. The Communist party in Russia is in full support of Putin's USSR 2.0. Putin also rather likes the fascists so long as they don't get annoying. In Russia, there is no political freedom. It is run by the underground soviet structures, of which Putin and his cronies are only the visible manifestation of. You cannot have freedom lovers or patriots under such a situation, only slaves and goons who rather enjoy the idea of murder and Russian nationalism, not to be confused with American patriotism, which is an entirely different species.
That's true - they'd prefer to return to the Soviet era.
I don’t see any one in Russia who wants to return to the collective farm lifestyle. On the other hand, Western consumerism and decadence is no great shakes - much of it is “exhibition of the prices.”
Forget the economy - they, like you, are motivated by a combination of revanchist and irredentist sentiment. Eventually, historians may come to see the period just after the Cold War as the interwar years, much as they now see the period between WWI and WWII. Russia's tens of thousands of nukes prevented a definitive resolution of Russia's claim to universal empire, much as Germany was too strong, even at the end of WWI to defeat unconditionally. If next war to keep Russia in its cage goes nuclear we will see casualties on both sides that dwarf WWI and WWII combined. Unfortunately, this may play out like the Greek tragedies of antiquity, completely foreseeable yet equally quite inevitable.
The wars since WWI resemble the Punic Wars, only question being who will emerge as Rome and be the last man standing?
How much can an “Obama sanction” hurt a multi- billionaire anywhere , really? (And leaving aside the abject lack of justice .in a man sitting on the Potomac issuing “sanctions” orders against anybody he wants anywhere in the world just because why? They’re rich and didn’t contribute to his campaign? Or what?).
It’s no mistake that Obama’s first target for sanctions was the woman legislator who has taken the lead in trying to stop child pornography in Russia.
If Russian libs are like our libs then, may they toast in the leapping, dancing flames of hell.