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Pundit Sees Americans` Self-Image As Main Driver of Adoption of Magnitskiy Act
Moskovskiy Komsomolets Online
Tuesday, December 11, 2012


 
Tit-for-tat response to Magnitsky law; Putin emphasizes need for patriotism, pledges to tackle graft; man held over TV host murder. Moscow ready to relinquish Azerbaijan radar base; Russia`s oil spill rap sheet. British conservative party denies links with Kremlin; Abramovich set for reduced stake in Norlisk; economic growth slows


“`The Americans Adopted the `Magnitskiy Act` To Recognize Their Own Exclusivity and Nobility.` Authoritative Opinion of Sergey Samuylov, Head of the Center for the Study of the US Foreign Policy Mechanism at the Russian Academy of Sciences USA and Canada Institute” -- Moskovskiy Komsomolets headline


The Americans are an arrogant nation with the most powerful economic and military potential in the world. But they do not have a long history. We have 1,200 years of our -- grueling and bloody -- history behind us, but we have good historical thinking, whereas they are not even 250 years old yet. Herein lies the paradox of that nation -- they are totally lacking in historical thinking. This also includes young political analysts. But in especially the older generation -- those senators who approved the law. And the lack of a long history of their own gives rise to an inferiority complex in them. This is clear even from the example of their universities: They were built recently but were designed in the architectural tradition of medieval Europe.


And, accordingly, the way that they compensate for their lack of historical thinking consists of propaganda drumming into the heads of ordinary Americans the idea that they are an exclusive nation chosen by God.


This is also the source of their arrogant attitude toward the surrounding world, including Russia. Then our country joins the WTO and the United States realizes that if the Jackson-Vanik amendment is to continue to operate American companies will find themselves discriminated against on the Russian market in comparison with other countries` companies. They repeal this amendment. But in order to confirm to themselves (people in our country often think that they want to spite us, but they do this primarily for themselves) how exclusive they are and how concerned they are for the state of human rights in Russia, they adopt this law. And, I repeat, this is being done primarily for themselves.


As for the Magnitskiy issue.... We have numerous examples of prisoners dying in prison before they even get to trial and so forth. And the fact that his name was chosen is a coincidence. If it had not been him they would have come up with an Ivanov, a Petrov.... What this looks like is: “We are granting you normal trading status but are proving at the same time how humane we are and how concerned we are for the observance of human rights.”


In the context of international relations this law is unlawful, of course. They have taken away one discriminatory measure and immediately adopted another. But for the Americans dual standards in international relations are the norm, again because of their perception of their own exclusivity.


The Russian authorities have already decided that there will be a response, but as far as human rights violations are concerned it is clear that these rights are violated more in our country than in the United States. But it seems to me that as yet this is merely a propaganda fuss because the amendment (popravka as published) will have to be implemented by Obama, and he is opposed to it. The fuss will now die down -- although Russia will do something, of course -- and then everything will settle into the normal channel. The State Department also has other ways of not allowing people into the country. This is why I repeat that this law has been adopted more for themselves -- to recognize their own exclusivity and nobility.


(Description of Source: Moscow Moskovskiy Komsomolets Online in Russian -- Website of mass-circulation daily featuring political exposes and criticism of the government; URL: http://mk.ru/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Analyst Says Magnitskiy Act May Wreck US Companies` Hopes for Business in Russia
Izvestiya Online (Moscow Edition)
Tuesday, December 11, 2012


 


Article by Aleksey Mukhin: “`Magnitskiy Act` As Fraudulent Replacement for Amendment. Political Analyst Aleksey Mukhin on How Russia Should Respond to the Unfriendly Gesture by American Legislators”


The “Magnitskiy Act” has been adopted to (fraudulently) replace the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which had become overly burdensome to American companies ahead of their penetration of the Russian market. Russia has joined the WTO, and while Russian businessmen are adapting to the new conditions, the WTO-savvy Americans have serious competitive advantages. So it was necessary to get a move on. And get a move on they did.


However, according to US domestic political traditions, the Republicans, who are basically hostile toward Russia, demanded a reciprocal sacrifice -- the adoption of the “Magnitskiy Act” which they have long been promoting and which limits various Russian citizens` opportunities for entering the United States and “freezes” their bank accounts and rights to own real estate and assets.


Any country can disallow from its sovereign territory anybody that it does not want to see there: The United States is entitled to do this just as much as other countries, including Russia. But the decision to “freeze” assets and bank accounts in the country that considers itself to be the bastion of democracy and reveres private ownership as sacred -- a priori, without a corresponding court ruling -- is illogical, to put it mildly, and unlawful.


Essentially this means non-judicially deeming a number of foreign citizens to be guilty and correspondingly removing a document (list) from the legal arena. This only emphasizes the opportunistic backdrop to the adoption of the “Act.”


While the political motivation for the decision that has been adopted is most likely as follows:


1) Revenge for the toughening of control over the funding of non-profit organizations, which the United States had become accustomed to “using” in its own interests without any control. But the problem is that Russian legislators used the American model for this: It is pointless to “spit at the mirror,” as the saying goes.


2) Revenge for the enforced departure from Russian territory of USAID and, most likely, for supporting Syria and also for completing the construction in Iran of a peaceful nuclear facility -- the Bushehr nuclear power plant -- despite the United States` attempts to prevent it and incidentally, we would note, to take over this contract.


The point is that the text of the “Act” is in itself rather innocuous, albeit extremely strange for a country that has just completed the “reset” of relations with Russia in a positive direction. But the list of individuals appended to the “Act” is highly specific: First, the principle for choosing the individuals who figure in this document is not totally clear; second, as the signatories themselves acknowledge, there is some kind of second, classified part of the list that is available for only a select few to view.


From this point we get tp the nitty-gritty, as the saying goes -- the secret prison at Guantanamo, the secret operations in Libya and Syria, and so forth. You would think that only a lazy political analyst would not now know that the United States either ignores international law altogether, or crudely violates it, or, as the saying goes, does not care what the “world community” thinks. And it is easy to “step outside” the bounds of legality if you possess the most powerful army in the world.


It is clear that the protracted process of the signing of this “Act” by the Congress, the Senate, and so forth has been a political stage show intended to illustrate one thing: Barack Obama and his administration allegedly did everything so that “friend Dmitriy” in Russia would know that the “reset” had not been for nothing.


There is still a small hope that Barack Obama, who was recently elected by a good margin, is actually serious about his new relationship with the Russian partners. But in that case he will have to violate agreements that took such a long time to achieve and to make life more difficult for himself at the very beginning of his second term.


But Hillary Clinton`s statements in Ireland about Vladimir Putin allegedly reviving the USSR and the rhetoric that she employed here leave “friend Dmitriy” and Russia with virtually no chance.


Russia has unfortunately been forced to listen to these kinds of threats because they are being uttered in the name of the world`s biggest power in the military respect. But it manifestly should not follow such “advice” if it intends to remain sovereign in the immediate future.


Henry Kissinger`s recent Handelsblatt interview also demonstrated that the United States is “stubbornly disregarding” Russia: In the text of the interview it is mentioned only once -- and then only in passing -- while on the other hand quite a lot was said about the great struggle and great friendship with China.


As a result we can see two fundamentally different approaches to Russia in the United States: It is either ignored or regarded as an aggressive and democratically underdeveloped country whose rights it is not shameful to violate.


This kind of practice can be changed only in one way, which, incidentally, is frequently employed in oriental martial arts (judo, aikido): Using the attacker`s strength against himself by applying pressure at the requisite time to a point that is really painful to him.


Proceeding from this logic it is clear that it is necessary to respond to the “Magnitskiy Act” after biding a little time: The United States would definitely interpret a blunt response by the Russian authorities as justification for their intentions to “pacify” obstreperous Russia. And the response should be in a completely different -- economic -- sphere, while remaining strictly within the legal arena in order to avoid resembling American legislators, who have already shot themselves in the foot with their “Act.”


Yet another unpleasant thing also lies in store, but this time for the European Union: The United States will have to “compel” the members of united Europe to a sign up to this “Act” one after another.


The upshot is that as a result old-lady Europe will have to either “give in” to the States or sacrifice her sovereignty. And how signing up to the “Act” would gel with the European Union`s partnership relations with Russia is another question.


I am confident that there is nevertheless an understanding in the EU of the legal dubiousness of this undertaking and that they will follow the logic of common sense and legality. But a devious maneuver by the EU is also possible: While formally signing the “Act,” de facto not applying it -- about which Russia would have to be informed unofficially.


In any event, the signing of the “Act” will highly complicate the operations of American companies in Russia: The benevolence that the Russian leadership has demonstrated recently may evaporate like the morning mist, and hopes of successful business and cooperation with the Russian state companies may be unjustified.


For Barack Obama`s administration the wish to gratify anti-sympathizers of Russia in a (fraudulent) exchange for repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment will then turn into a rake on which, as everybody in Russia knows, it is better not to tread. It is painful. And vexing.


(Description of Source: Moscow Izvestiya Online (Moscow Edition) in Russian -- Website of Moscow Edition of large-circulation daily that is majority-owned by Yuriy Kovalchuk`s National Media Group and usually supports the Kremlin; URL: http://izvestia.ru/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Report Notes Russia`s `Mirror-Image` Response To Magnitskiy Act
Kommersant Online
Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Report by Viktor Khamrayev: “Like Deputy To Congressman; State Duma Gives Mirror-Image Response to American `Magnitskiy Act`”


US citizens involved in the violation of Russians` rights will be unable to enter the Russian Federation, they will be banned from any deals involving property and investments in Russia, and their assets will be sequestrated. This was the draft law with which State Duma deputies responded yesterday (10 December) to the “Magnitskiy act” adopted last week by US congressmen. Of their fellow countrymen whose rights have suffered at the Americans` hands, the Duma deputies were able so far to name only entrepreneur Viktor Bout (But).


The authors of the draft law “On Measures for Bringing Pressure To Bear on Persons Involved in the Violation of Russian Federation Citizens` Rights” were State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin and the leaders of the four State Duma factions. Displays of solidarity of this kind are extremely rare in the deputies` corps. Last summer the amendments to the Criminal Code toughening punishment for offending the feelings of believers were an act of collective creativity. During the last convocation (of the Duma) the operation to “compel” Georgia to peace during the fighting in South Ossetia generated brief political unification. Yesterday Vladimir Vasilyev, leader of the Duma United Russians, did not conceal his pleasure that the deputies were able to “set aside factional differences and adopt a united patriotic position as the people`s elected representatives obliged to defend the people against injustice.”


The Duma deputies are aiming to defend the people against “persons involved in the violation of the rights of Russian Federation citizens.” Without providing a legal definition of these “persons,” the authors immediately move on to listing the “measures for bringing pressure to bear” on them: “a ban on US citizens entering Russian Federation territory” and also “the sequestration of the financial and other assets of US citizens on Russian Federation territory and a ban on any deals involving these citizens` property and investments.”


Sequestration and the blocking of deals will affect the assets only of those Americans who are banned from entering Russia. US citizens who have committed a crime against a Russian abroad; who are invested with state powers and have helped those who have committed a crime against a Russian to avoid liability; have been involved in the kidnapping of Russians; and who have passed unjustified verdicts on Russians will be unable to enter Russia. This also applies to those who have made unsubstantiated rulings with regard to Russians, thus violating their rights and lawful interests. For these citizens a “ban on disposing” of property on the territory of the Russian Federation is imposed. The operation of a Russian company can be suspended if its owner is an American who is banned from entering Russia. In addition, a US citizen who has lost the right to enter the Russian Federation will have his “powers on boards of directors and other management bodies of Russian organizations” suspended. The list of Americans barred from entry will be kept by the Foreign Ministry. Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, the human rights ombudsman, the Public Chamber and “also state bodies” will be able to submit “proposals for modifying the list.”


CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) leader Gennadiy Zyuganov stated that the deputies could have “adopted a number of further decisions strengthening the country`s position.” “We send gigantic sums to American banks at 2-3%, but we could think of placing the Russian Federation`s enormous financial resources in other banks,” the Communist believes. It is also possible “not to set up a NATO transit base on the Volga or help the Americans continue to turn Afghanistan into a drugs den.” “I would personally ask Cuba to restore our base at Lourdes,” the CPRF leader summed up. Just Russia leader Sergey Mironov supported only the measures which have been included in the draft`s definitive text. But two Just Russians, Dmitriy Gudkov and Ilya Ponomarev, said they would vote against the law. LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) leader Vladimir Zhirinovskiy urged his colleagues to explain to citizens the reason for the appearance of the “Magnitskiy act” which, in his opinion, is that “America is degenerating.” He sees the act in response as justified because “not a single American is sitting in Russian prisons, yet there are Russians in American prisons.” It is true that as evidence he cited only Viktor Bout, sentenced in the United States for illegal arms dealing.


Lawyer and Public Chamber member Anatoliy Kucherena, chairman of the board of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, could not name anyone except Mr Bout either. The Institute`s headquarters in New York studies the problem of the violation of human rights in the United States. Mr Kucherena says that the institute`s mission is not “to criticize Americans for violating human rights,” but to “jointly study the problems facing us in the field of the protection of human rights.” But, he said, the appearance of the “Magnitskiy act” is “an attempt to mix politics with legal matters.” So the Russian side could not fail to answer with a “mirror-image draft,” the lawyer believes.


“Both acts -- American and Russian -- are inappropriate and both are political,” Sergey Karaganov, an expert from the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, believes. He admits that “the Americans started it,” and the retaliatory step is usually a mirror-image as in the case of the reciprocal expulsion of “spies or so-called spies.” But the Russian side, in his opinion, “could have studied the Magnitskiy case more intensely than the American side.” In recent years Russian-American relations have normalized, but if both sides “start spitting to see who can spit the further, then they could end up with a second edition of the Cold War,” Mr Karaganov believes.


(Description of Source: Moscow Kommersant Online in Russian -- Website of informative daily business newspaper owned by pro-Kremlin and Gazprom-linked businessman Alisher Usmanov, although it still criticizes the government; URL: http://kommersant.ru/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


 



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