Russia may take asymmetric measures against U.S. in response to ‘Magnitsky list’ expansion – Russian MP Slutsky

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Moscow may asymmetrically react to Washington’s decision to expand the ‘Magnitsky list’ – similarly to Russia’s response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said.

“I would like to remind you that Russia has a law on measures of response to the Magnitsky Act, and under it [this law] the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation and even our deputies and senators are entitled to suggest expanding the ‘blacklists’ of American citizens guilty of violations of Russians’ rights. There are plenty of such cases,” Slutsky told reporters on Tuesday.

However, a decision on to what extent Russia’s response will mirror the American measures this time should be made in the course of close consultations, he said.

“Bearing in mind the upcoming transition of power in the U.S., Russia’s response steps may also be asymmetrical, as they were in the case of Russian diplomats’ expulsion from the U.S.,” Slutsky said.

It is symbolic that the so-called Magnitsky Act was adopted at the beginning of Barack Obama’s second presidential term and marked the start of a process to derail the ‘reset’ of Russia-U.S. relations, effectively putting them on the ‘Cold War-era’ track, he said.

“And today, passing into history, Obama’s administration and its supporters are still maintaining the course toward confrontation with Russia. This situation, which is some sort of hysterics and throes, displayed in all of the last steps of the U.S. authorities with regard to the Russian Federation, is, beyond any doubt, complicating the possibility of restoring the Russian-American dialogue,” Slutsky said.

However, “we hope that new U.S. President Donald Trump and his team will change the vector of U.S. foreign policy in the Russian direction and our relations will again become constructive,” he said.

It was reported earlier that the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday blacklisted another five Russian citizens – Russian Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin, State Duma member Andrei Lugovoy, as well as Stanislav Gordiyevsky, Dmitry Kovtun and Gennady Plaksin – under the 2012 U.S. Magnitsky Act.

U.S. Department of State spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that this list currently included 44 people.