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‘It's like the Americans just copied the phonebook’ Russian officials respond to the U.S. government's new ‘Kremlin list’

Meduza
13:11, 30 january 2018

On January 29, the U.S. Treasury Department published its “Kremlin List” of senior political figures, oligarchs, and “parastatal entities” in Russia. The “detailed report,” which was required by the 2017 “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” was written in consultation with the National Intelligence director and the head of the State Department. The list names 114 high-ranking state officials and 96 so-called oligarchs in Russia. Treasury officials listed virtually every member of the presidential cabinet, every official in the presidential administration, the head of every state corporation, and nearly every major entrepreneur. Meduza collects some of the first reactions from Russian officials appearing in the news and on social media.

Arkady Dvorkovich

Russian deputy prime minister

(#49 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS / Vida Press

As a member of the government, I simply had to be on this list. It’s just a list of people who are clearly leaders in Russian politics, and the second list is all leaders in Russian business. So far, there are no grounds for any actions here. The list looks like a book of “who’s who in Russian politics.”

(Quote from Interfax)

Konstantin Kosachev

Head of the Federation Council’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

A first glance at the “American list” delivered yesterday by the Treasury Department to the Congress creates the impression (at least in the “political” appendix) that the U.S. intelligence agencies — desperate to find that promised and (most importantly) provable kompromat on Russian politicians — simply copied the Kremlin’s phonebook. Without exception, everyone “on the list” is head of some Russian state agency.

This issue is serious and it’s not going anywhere. Political paranoia, as we know, is very difficult to treat — especially when the patient doesn’t recognize the illness and refuses treatment.

(Quote from Kosachev’s Facebook page)

Mikhail Fedotov

Head of the Presidential Council on Human Rights

(#26 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

My name was already in “firing squad lists” in 1991 and 1993, and now I’ve landed on this list, too. Here’s my question: what was the point of including people on this list? It’s not hard to draw up a list of the president’s advisors; you only need to glance at the administration’s website to find a list of all advisors and aides.

As I understand it, the only thing that might happen now is that American diplomats might not say hello or shake hands, when meeting me at diplomatic receptions. But these are polite people and I don’t expect they’ll do that.

(Quote from RIA Novosti)

Anna Kuznetsova

Presidential commissioner on children’s rights

(#31 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

I believe this evaluation of my work as children’s rights commissioner — even though I’ve been in the position for such a short period — demonstrates that we’re on the right path to our main goal: maintaining the happiness and wellbeing of Russia’s children.

(Quote from TASS)

Boris Titov

Presidential commissioner on entrepreneurs’ rights

(#32 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

Valery Sharifulin / TASS / Vida Press

I was a bit surprised, of course. They’re targeting the “pianists” playing for everyone, not for the authorities. Decent people don’t normally put these folks in the crosshairs. We work to defend people from the authorities. Fedotov, Kuznetsova, and I. But apparently it’s advantageous for them to reduce the effectiveness of our civil institutions like this.

(Quote from Interfax)

Dmitry Rogozin

Deputy prime minister

(#52 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

The Americans remain true to themselves. Everywhere and always, they’re always playing for a “two-move checkmate.” First they frighten the people buying our weapons, and then they force them to buy only American weapons. In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

(Quote from Interfax)

Herman Klimenko

Presidential advisor on the development of the Internet

(#22 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

It’s not for me to give advice to journalists, but the most important thing with any list isn’t who shows up but who’s left out.

(Quote from Klimenko’s Facebook page)

Franz Klintsevich

Deputy head of the Federation Council’s Committee on National Defense and Security

The Kremlin report is aimed at provoking extremely negative attitudes toward Russia’s leadership, the president, and creating problems ahead of the election [in March]. We’ll study this report, but of course I think our response will be sufficiently tough, but only insofar as it suits the country’s interests. We’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot like Ukraine.

(Quote from Interfax)

Sergey Sobyanin

Mayor of Moscow

(#85 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

Alexey Nikolsky / Sputnik / Scanpix / LETA

They carefully added the country’s entire political and economic elite to the “Kremlin report,” so it would have been strange if they hadn’t included the mayor of the capital. The West has always disliked Russia, but even in the very worst times throughout history nobody ever dreamt up a list like this. Such measures will unite us, not divide us, leading to results that are the opposite of what this list’s authors wanted.

(Quote from Vkontakte)

Georgy Poltavchenko

Governor of St. Petersburg

(#84 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

The appearance of the name Poltavchenko on the “ratings of Russian leaders’ influence” published today by the U.S. Treasury Department attests to his service to Russia and Petersburg, and demonstrates the city’s growing contribution to the Russian economy.

(Quote from the Twitter account of Andrey Kibitov, the head of the governor’s press service)

Vyacheslav Volodin

Speaker of the State Duma

(#77 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

What kind of sanctions haven’t they dreamt up in the last four years? And nothing has changed Russia’s political course, nothing has weakened our sovereignty or made us less united. New sanctions against Russia will lead to an even more consolidated society… A policy of restrictions is how the U.S. leadership imposes its will on other countries, so they abandon an independent course. That’s why, the stronger Russia becomes, the more attempts there will be to weaken our country.

(Quote published on the State Duma’s website)

Dmitry Peskov

Spokesman for President Putin

(#6 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

The fact that Russia’s highest ranking officials are mentioned on a list is quite unprecedented, but drawing any conclusions will be possible only after some careful analysis. Publicizing such an all-encompassing list that includes everything and everyone probably could potentially damage our reputation. As for my name, well, everybody’s name is there. There’s nothing to say — it’s a generalized approach. It’s also worth noting that all these people are effectively being called enemies of the United States.

(Quote from Meduza)

Vladimir Medinsky

Culture minister

(#58 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

This is a nomination really. It’s an explicit recognition that inspires new achievements. I have no money, no property, and absolutely no assets in the United States, so my name appearing on this list is precisely the last thing in life that interests me.

(Quote from TASS)

Nikolai Nikiforov

Communications and mass media minister

(#56 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

We’ve always operated on the assumption that American sanctions are forever and they’ll never be lifted. There may be other lists coming. Different ones, big ones, small ones — the main thing is that these relations are for the long-term. We see no factors that could change this state of affairs.

(Quote from Interfax)

Ramzan Kadyrov

Head of Chechnya

Zubair Bairakov / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

Personally, I don’t doubt for a minute that Washington has moved into the stage of open interference in Russia’s domestic political processes. I am referring to Russia’s upcoming presidential election. Audacity, of course, has no boundaries. Step by step, America has been implementing a plan worked out long ago, which it’s now adjusting, to weaken Russia and turn it into a third-rate state. But Washington only plots, while the All Mighty commands! The Americans will fail!

(Quote from Mylistory)

Viktor Zubkov

Head of Gazprom’s board of directors

They’re constantly trying to pressure us like this all the time. It doesn’t matter. We can take it.

(Quote from RIA Novosti)

Irina Yarovaya

Deputy chairperson of the State Duma

The U.S. is introducing a system of viral contact, the purpose of which is no secret: it’s a system to restrain others and benefit just one country. America has opened an economic Guantanamo prison for businesses around the world.

(Quote from RIA Novosti)

Evgeny Kaspersky

Head of “Kaspersky Lab”

(#37 on the U.S. Treasury’s list of oligarchs)

The list doesn’t impose any sanctions or restrictions on those named. Our company works like any company: we protect users from cyber-attacks, regardless of their origin. The list is 100-percent identical to Forbes’ list. The officials who compiled the list don’t understand the meaning of the word “oligarch,” or they wouldn’t have included my name and the names of many other businessmen who have no connection to the state authorities.

(Quote from Kaspersky’s Twitter account)

Vitaly Milonov

State Duma deputy

I’d consider drawing up a retaliatory “Washington list” that includes the names of all American officials responsible for unleashing this sanctions war against our country.

(Quote from RIA Novosti)

Alexey Kudrin

Former finance minister and now board chairman of the Center for Strategic Research

The so-called Kremlin list is the formal fulfillment of a hastily enacted law. Both the law and the list and any potential new sanctions are illogical. This is both their weakness and their strength. We’ve got to be cool-headed about this. We don’t need to break off relations, and we need to take measures to overcome this phase.

(Quote from Kudrin’s Twitter account)

Valentina Matviyenko

Chairperson of the Federation Council

(#75 on the U.S. Treasury’s list)

The publication of such a list practically on the eve of the presidential election is indisputably blatant interference in the election process and an attempt to influence people’s moods, to destabilize the situation in society, and to lower the president’s support, which they know is very high. Adding Russia’s political leadership, including the prime minister, to such a list can’t be called anything but blatant interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Gentlemen, it’s not for you to decide who will lead this country. That will be decided by our people.

(Quote from Interfax)

Vladimir Putin

Russian president

(Not named on the U.S. Treasury's list)

Sergey Chirikov / EPA / Scanpix / LETA

The “Kremlin list” is an unfriendly act that complicates relations between Russia and the U.S. and damages international relations in general. There are ordinary Russians behind everyone on this document, which means they’ve effectively listed the country’s entire population. For now, Russia will refrain from retaliatory measures. We should tend to our own affairs, and then the realization will come that there’s no sense in drawing up lists and threatening and frightening. Russia should be guided by the old rule: “The dog barks, but the caravan rolls on.”

(Quote from Interfax)