Monday, April 15, 2013

Bravo Again Mr. Putin

Russia Bars 18 Americans
After Sanctions by U.S.
By Ellen Barry - Published April 13, 2013 - The New York Times Europe

Left and center, Melissa Golden/Getty Images; right, Damir Sagolj/Reuters
David Addington, left, John Yoo, center, and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller are among those whom Russia has barred. The action from Moscow followed sanctions by the United States.
MOSCOW — A day after the United States imposed sanctions on Russians accused of rights violations, Moscow said Saturday that it could not “leave this open blackmail without response” and published a list of 18 current and former American officials who will now be barred from entry to Russia.       

The list is headed by four men who Russia’s Foreign Ministry says are responsible for “the legalization of torture” and “unlimited detention”: David Addington, who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and provided legal support for interrogation policies; John Yoo, a high-ranking Bush administration lawyer who wrote several major opinions on torture; and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller and Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson, each of whom commanded detention operations in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.


The remaining officials are justice and law enforcement officials whom Russia accuses of violating the rights of its citizens abroad. Several were involved in a case against Viktor Bout, the convicted arms dealer now in federal prison in the United States, and in a drug-trafficking case against a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko.
The most high-profile among those barred is Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, who oversaw prosecution of the Bout case.
Moscow had warned that it would response in a tough way to the United States’ so-called Magnitsky List of sanctioned figures, named after a lawyer in Russia who was investigating official corruption, only to be arrested and die in custody in 2009. Already, Russia’s Parliament has banned adoption of Russian children by American families, canceling scores of adoptions that had not reached their final stages.
A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, which released the tit-for-tat list on Saturday, said that Washington must realize that it cannot conduct its relationship with Moscow “in the spirit of mentoring and undisguised diktat.”
“Our principled opinion on this unfriendly step is well known: under the pressure of Russophobically inclined U.S. congressmen, a severe blow has been dealt to bilateral relations and mutual confidence,” said the spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich.
He added, “The war of lists is not our choice, but we had no right to leave this open blackmail unanswered.”
A State Department spokesman who declined to be identified said: “As we’ve said many times before, the right response by Russia to the international outcry over Sergei Magnitsky’s death would be to conduct a proper investigation and hold those responsible for his death accountable, rather than engage in tit-for-tat retaliation.”
Those on the list were not known to be frequent travelers to Russia, and at least one mocked Moscow’s move with a reference to President Vladimir V. Putin’s athletic endeavors. “Darn,” Mr. Yoo said in an e-mail. “There goes my judo match with Putin.”
The diplomatic tussle comes after a year of deepening strains between Russia and the United States, and on the eve of a visit by President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon. The Obama administration has sought Russian cooperation in crises in Syria and North Korea, and recently decided to scale back plans for a missile defense system in Europe, an irritant to Russia. But Mr. Putin attributes a wave of protests against his government to Western interference in domestic affairs, and is increasingly hostile to American criticism of his human rights record.
The Kremlin has made no comment since Friday, when the Obama administration announced that it had penalized about two dozen Russians, ordering their assets in the United States frozen and denying them entry to the country. There were no high-ranking officials among the 18 names made public on Friday, but a handful of other names are on a classified list — among them the Kremlin-allied leader of Chechnya, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, according to people briefed on the matter.
Mr. Kadyrov mocked the measure on Saturday in remarks to journalists, telling Interfax that he was glad to be on the list.
“I am proud that I am Russian, proud that I am unpleasant for America, because they are involved in outrages all over the world,” he said. “I love my homeland, and as I said, even if I were not on the list, even in that case I would not buy a ticket to America.”
Mr. Kadyrov is a close ally of Mr. Putin’s, and his reported inclusion on the classified list led the headlines in Russia on Saturday. With the Kremlin’s backing, Mr. Kadyrov has used harsh methods to suppress a separatist insurgency in the volatile southern region he leads. The public list of those Russians to be penalized included a man accused of gunning down one of Mr. Kadyrov’s former bodyguards who was providing evidence for a case against Mr. Kadyrov in the European Court of Human Rights.
Though pro-Kremlin analysts expressed some satisfaction on Friday, noting that the American list was relatively short and included no high-ranking officials, a top lawmaker sounded foreboding on Saturday.
“The U.S. has created a very negative background for Mr. Donilon’s arrival,” the lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, head of the International Affairs Committee in the lower house of Parliament, told the Interfax news agency.
A number of the Americans included on the list released by Moscow worked on Mr. Bout’s weapons-trafficking case, and the cocaine-trafficking case against Mr. Yaroshenko, both of which were heard in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is included on the list, sentenced Mr. Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison. Mr. Yaroshenko, a pilot, was arrested in Liberia as part of a sting operation being run by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.
A version of this article appeared in print on April 14, 2013, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Russia Bars 18 Americans After Sanctions by U.S.

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