News / Europe

Russia Vows Retaliation After US Human Rights Bill

Portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in Russian jail, November 20, 2009.Portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in Russian jail, November 20, 2009.
Portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in Russian jail, November 20, 2009.
Portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in Russian jail, November 20, 2009.
VOA News
Russian lawmakers have vowed to respond in kind after the U.S. Congress approved a bill imposing sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights violations.

Officials said Monday that Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, will consider imposing some sort of penalty against U.S. citizens that Moscow suspects of human rights violations.

The Duma's international affairs committee chairman, Alexei Pushkov, said the Russian Foreign Ministry already has a confidential list of U.S. nationals who will be banned entry to Russia if lawmakers approve the sanctions. The ministry had earlier denounced the U.S. bill — known as the "Magnitsky Act" — as "an absolutely unfriendly, provocative, unilateral move."

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to lift trade restrictions on Russia that date back to the Cold War era, normalize trade with Moldova and impose sanctions on Russian officials accused of committing human rights violations. U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to sign the measure, which cleared the House of Representatives last month.

The bill is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian lawyer who was jailed after he denounced what he called a criminal ring of officials who stole $250 million in tax money. He died in prison in 2009.

The Magnitsky Act combines two bills — the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. One part repeals a Cold War-era provision known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which linked favorable U.S. tariffs on Russian goods to the rights of Jews in the Soviet Union to emigrate.

The bill also includes a provision that denies visas and freezes U.S. bank assets of Russian human rights violators. Moscow has expressed anger over the provision, warning that it would harm diplomatic relations with Washington.

Before the vote, Russian Foreign Ministry officials said that if the measure passed, Moscow would respond in what they called an “appropriate manner."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: George from: USA
December 11, 2012 7:41 AM
The American people have no real problem with the Russian Government. It is just republicans trying to make someone seem as an enemy. I for one am thankful that Russia and my country are getting along as well as they are. I find the Russian people very friendly as well. I would never consider anyone from Russia my enemy because the moral lacking Congressmen say I should.

by: Bean Cube
December 11, 2012 6:00 AM
Russians must impose sanctions on US against those war criminals covering up by our military and CIA. Please let us know what kinds of helps you need from us, the population of United States of America.
In Response

by: Henry IV from: Peterburg
December 11, 2012 2:18 PM
Bean Stupid,
Before you ask what kind of help..., you should have asked Russia for what they have done in Chechen War, suppressed Pussy Cat Band, murdered Anna Polikovskaya, ... for raising their voice for freedom to against the state controlled media.

by: Walter Johnson
December 11, 2012 5:37 AM
This sort of tit for tat reciprocity is common in international diplomacy and likely will be ignored by Congress, regardless of who is on Russia's list. There are indeed some American business executives who do belong on such a list of rights abusers.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
December 10, 2012 8:51 PM
The regime that rules nowadays Russia clings to power by virtue of rigged elections and doesn’t reflect the real public opinion in Russia. The majority of Russians are no longer blinded by vicious propaganda. Nevertheless the vain corrupt elite pretend to act on their behalf. Russians welcome the Magnitsky Act as genuinely friendly one and the best thing that has happened in the last years of the US-Russia’s bilateral relations. The greatest advantage of the Act is that it precisely hits at the core of Putin’s Russia woes – it’s malignant lawlessness, at the elite that is highly dependent on the West for the universities for their kids, on banks for their riches, on their luxury villas & castles ready for their retirement. The elite know there is no future for them in post-Putin’s Russia as the ground will burn under their feet.

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