Kremlin stands behind parliament’s response to U.S. Magnitsky ActSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 19/12/2012 7:06 am in World / no comments
MOSCOW, Dec. 18 — The Kremlin understands lawmakers’ resentment over the recently adopted U.S. sanctions against Russian officials deemed responsible for the death of an activist lawyer, an aide said Tuesday.
“I understand the reaction of our lawmakers and public. Did the Americans expect we would simply swallow that, or what?” Yuri Ushakov said to reporters of the so-called Magnitsky Act.
The legislation requires the U.S. government to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials who it believes are responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in 2009 in detention in Moscow after accusing officials of mass tax fraud.
The act, attached to a bill granting Russia permanent normal trade status, has drawn Russia’s ire. “This is a highly unfriendly move, so we perceive it emotionally too,” Ushakov said.
On Friday, the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, passed in its first reading a bill imposing entry bans on U.S. citizens who have committed crimes against Russians abroad, persons involved in abduction or illegal imprisonment of Russians, and persons implicated in abuse of adopted Russian children.
During the second reading, scheduled on Wednesday, the lawmakers are set to supplement the bill with an additional chapter that would ban the U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans and acting as intermediaries in that sphere.
If passed and signed by President Vladimir Putin, the bill will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, thus repealing a Russia-U.S. agreement on children adoption that came into force as recently as on Nov. 1.
Last week, Putin called upon the lawmakers to mete out a proper response to the Magnitsky Act, but not to exceed the limits.
“It is necessary that our decisions would be adequate but not over the limit,” said the president.