Image by Kremlin.ru
The Russian government and social media are reacting violently online to the release of the U.S. Department of Treasury ‘Friends of Putin’ list, called a ‘sanctions list in waiting’. Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Caatsa) last August to punish Russia for its actions during the 2016 election. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed disgust but declared Russia will hold off responding, for now. Below are his comments, followed by other social media reactions, and official declarations.
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Putin responded, “What I have to say on this matter – not on the list but on the matter as a whole – we need to think about ourselves more, address our economic issues, agricultural ones in particular, we also need to support our exports, healthcare and education, and boost our defense capabilities…then they will realize that there is no sense in drawing up any lists and trying to hamper our development…This is the main thing that we need to remember, because as they say, ‘a barking dog cannot hinder a caravan’s journey’.
“The whole presidential staff, the government and all businesses [were included in the US Kremlin List]. Behind each of these persons and organizations there are ordinary citizens of our country, labor staffs and whole industries. As a matter of fact all of us were put on some list. I cannot see what the meaning of such actions is.
“Certainly, this is an unfriendly act. It aggravates the already bad condition of Russian-US relations and certainly harms international relations in general…those who do all these things are focused mostly on domestic policies, they attack the current president [of the United States].
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“They’ve just approved the budget. Before that temporary financing had to be used. He was even unable to use the presidential plane to fly to Switzerland for an international event.
“Just look at the silly things happening these days: Russia is blacklisted alongside North Korea and Iran and then asked to participate in resolving the solution of the North Korean nuclear program and giving thought to what could be done about the Iranian issue. Doesn’t this look silly?
“We are about to make a decision what is to be done to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It is about to expire and we should give thought to how to prolong it, how to go about that business, will we do that or not? Will be fighting against terrorism or not?
“We are not interested in scrapping relations. On the contrary, we want to develop our ties with the United States,” Putin said. “I am convinced that people in the US and Russia are also interested in this and people in the world will sigh with relief when they see that the two largest nuclear powers are building ties in a contemporary manner with mutual respect.
“Everyone should understand that the endless yielding of positions should not be expected,” the president warned. “We are not going to look for trouble or aggravate the situation, we want and will be patiently building relations to the extent the other side – the American side in this case – is ready for it,” reported Russian state news agency TASS.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added, “I am indifferent toward this list. All these individuals have been named de facto enemies of the United States.”
Anna Kuznetsova, children’s rights ombudsman [#31 on the list], “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.”
Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow mayor [#85 on the list], “The west has never liked Russia, but these types of lists were unthinkable even in the worst periods in history.”
My comments on the list published by U.S. Treasury Department:
1) It’s not a sanctions list, people on it aren’t subject to further restrictions. Our operations are intact, we keep providing our customers with protection against any cyberattacks regardless of their origin
— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) January 30, 2018
Vasily Anisimov, owner of real estate holding Coalco [#9 on list], “We have a strong, rich state with minerals, brains and women. That’s why we’re getting this level of attention. There are countries that no one would even think about imposing sanctions on. So it’s not for nothing that we live here, we’re lucky.”
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, “What does this list means? I would say nothing, zero. It tends to zero. Just imagine an opposite situation when we issue a list embracing the entire Trump situation, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office, what will happen in the United States? Nothing. The same will happen in our country, i.e. nothing.”
Kremlin opposition candidate Alexei Navalny, who was recently arrested declared, “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.”