Published: Thu, January 12, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

US Imposes New Sanctions on Russian Federation


The sanctions, announced on Monday by the Treasury Department, are not related to allegations of Russian hacking during the USA presidential election, according to a senior administration official.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin called the move "a hysteric fit of the departing Obama administration". It called Russian activities the "boldest effort yet" to influence a USA election, and said the Russian government provided emails to WikiLeaks - something Assange denied again on Monday.

The Magnitsky Act has outraged the Kremlin ever since it was signed by Obama, whose administration at the time was seeking to "reset" relations with Moscow and initially opposed the legislation, saying existing mechanisms to punish rights abusers were sufficient. "In their last days they seek to make it continuous, put Donald Trump in such conditions and force him into making such decisions that would ensure that this whole line is prolonged throughout the next period", Novikov said.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday the additions to the sanctions list followed "extensive research" and targeted individuals with "roles in the repressive machinery of Russia's law enforcement systems, as well as individuals involved in notorious human rights violations". He oversaw the investigation into Sergei Magnitsky's arrest and death in police custody and concluded that no crime had been committed. The initial act came into force in 2012. "Considering how many years have passed since the making of the so-called Magnitsky List, what could I do in the past year, or two, or three, or four?" he noted. Russian Constitution forbids it, he explained. The State and Treasury departments add new names to list around this time every year.

Continuing what may ultimately be a very brief flurry of anti-Russia sanctions, the Obama Administration today announced a new round of sanctions against 5 Russian officials. Russian officials have repeatedly blasted the move as unjust and the charges it contained as unproved.

The other two Russians hit with the new Treasury sanctions are banker Gennady Plaksin and law-enforcement official Stanislav Gordievsky, whom Magnitsky's supporters accuse of involvement in the massive theft and the late auditor's alleged persecution, respectively.

However, Obama's response to alleged Russian Federation hacking attacks was "disproportionate", says a top aide to Trump, noting that the Republican president-elect is likely to roll back some of his predecessor's actions against Moscow once he gets into office. "It's also sending a signal to the next administration that it hopes it will continue this policy".

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