The recently published US Treasury list of prominent Russian political figures and billionaires includes the top administration of the Kremlin and every oligarch worth over $1 billion.
The Trump administration says the report is “not a sanctions list.” However, some of the Russians named are currently subject to sanctions.
The list includes over 100 senior political figures all with close ties to Putin like DImitry Peskov (chief spokesman), Sergy Lavrov (Foreign Minister), and Dimitry Medvedev (Prime Minister).
There are also 96 Billionaires on the list, including Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, Roman Abramovich the Chelsea football club owner, and Alisher Usmanov. The Treasury assured that the list was “drawn from publicly available sources,” and it exactly matches the Forbes magazine list of Russian billionaires published last year. Still, Russia is not happy about the list saying it could “jeopardize relations” and have “serious consequences.”
Aleksey Chepa, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, was quoted as saying, “This is another step, which, obviously, leads to further escalation of tensions. While it is too early to talk about this, but if the situation escalates further it can lead to this. The American leadership itself does not see the consequences of these actions, they jeopardize relations in the world between countries, and this can have very, very serious consequences.”
The list was required by the CAASTA, the countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was enacted to punish Russia for interference in the US election, human rights violations, the annexing of Crimea, and ongoing military operations in the Ukraine. It had bipartisan support (98-2) from those concerned with Trump “watering down” sanction on Russia.
CAASTA requires that the names on the list be considered for sanctions, but the State Department says, "Sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent."
Critics are understandably outraged. Representative Eliot Engel (D) said, "I'm fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections.They've now shown us they won't act, so it's time for Congress to do more."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original article posted below was called "Trump Admin Declines to Impose New Russian Sanctions," but was changed dramatically since publication for reasons not understood by us at this time, as these two issues seem separate and would normally be addressed as such.