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US Treasury Department Name Russia’s ”Oligarchs” List , Stop Short Meting Sanctions

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Hundreds of Russian billionaires and political figures linked to the government have been identified by the Treasury Department in a list required to be made public by a law passed summer but fall short dishing out fresh restrictions.

The document has been mandated by Congress, amid reluctance from the Trump White House to punish Russia for its alleged interference in 2016 November election. Emphasizing how those shortlisted do not ”meet the criteria for designation under any sanctions programs”, the Treasury published the list just prior to his midnight deadline.

At a campaign rally Tuesday, hours after the list was made public, President Putin jokingly said it was ”offensive” that he didn’t make the cut but urge that Russia will ”refrain for the moment” in taking retaliatory actions it has put in place. He went ahead to tell supporters ”in effect, all 146 million of us have been put on some list,” at the same time calls it ”indisputably an unfriendly act.”

Businessman Arkady Rotenberg, banker Oleg Tinkov, and retail magnate Sergey Galitsky are among the few business executives with close ties to the Kremlin. While government officials; PM Medvedev, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov also made the list.

The Treasury will also be issuing classified lists, targeting tycoons, and low ranking officials with minimal financial holdings but provided little information to that effect.

Some Russians included in the list were somewhat relieved that it cut across all spectrum of the oligarchy, others are concerned that it might jeopardize their chances of doing business out of Russia. Banks will be cautious dealing with those blacklisted by the Treasury.

 

As Putin gears up for March 18 presidential election, the Kremlin sees the move as a measure by the Trump administration to influence the outcome of the results, as Vladimir Putin seeks to prolong his long stay in power.

 

 

Neba Benson,

BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst

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