Russia will respond properly if U.S. expands Magnitsky List - officials
Russia will give a proper response if the U.S. expands the Magnitsky List, i.e. the list of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to U.S. financial and visa sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, says Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee.
Speaking to Interfax, Margelov noted that some media suggested that the U.S. plans to expand the Magnitsky List. "For instance, White House spokesperson Laura Lucas Magnuson has said about this. On the other hand, the online publication The Daily Beast says that, on the contrary, the U.S. administration will not expand this list. But if this expansion happens, a proper response will surely be given to it. In addition, we will reasonably remind the Americans about their human rights abuses, unkind conditions in prisons, and so on," Margelov said.
At the same time, Russia should bear in mind that, as concerns values, the matter is about some ineradicable political tradition of the U.S., and therefore, if the list is expanded, it should react calmly to it, Margelov said.
"In the value aspects of our relations, an appropriate response is more important than any discussions on the matter, because part of American society and the establishment do think that it's only they who have the right democracy, and they reduce any dialogue on the subject to a lecturing monologue," Margelov said.
The ideal way to avoid U.S. criticism on values would be to copy U.S. practices and make them obligatory in the criticized country, "which is impossible," Margelov said. "Soberly thinking Americans understanding this make use of the value diplomacy for purposes of sanctions or blackmail. The U.S. had long harbored a grudge against us by wrapping it in the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and now it is wrapped in the Magnitsky List," he said.
While even suggestions about the expansion of the list certainly worsen the atmosphere of Russian-U.S. relations, the Magnitsky Act, with all its provocativeness, is intended much more for the U.S. voters rather than for some foreign political gains, Margelov said.
"It stands to reason that the White House followed the congressmen's will quite reluctantly when this legislation was passed. It is significant that the talk on expanding or not expanding the list is taking place during the big-time Russian-U.S. diplomacy surrounding Syria and Iran, and Washington has just hosted high-level talks on Russian-U.S. economic and investment cooperation," he said.
The next round of these negotiations is scheduled for January 2014, Margelov said. "And active trade and economic cooperation usually safeguards relations between countries from fluctuations in political trends," he said.