Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions

Mar 17, 2014 3:09pm
gty dmitry rogozin kb 140317 16x9 608 Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obamas SanctionsRussian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is seen in this July 17, 2012 file photo during a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs, S.M. Krishna in New Delhi. Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today  asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn’t appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal,  took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting  he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list

In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.

Surkov,  a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Here’s who gets hit with the sanctions:

U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the “key ideologists and architects” of Russia’s Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing “human rights and liberties” in Russia.

The sanctions freeze any assets under American jurisdiction and prevent American banks from doing business with the named individual, essentially freezing them out of the international banking system. The sanctions also impose a ban on their travel to the United States. Separately, but in coordination with the White House, the European Union announced sanctions today on 21 individuals that it plans to name later. U.S. officials told reporters that the American and European lists “overlapped” in some area, but declined to say how.

While some of the sanctioned officials are bold faced names, the White House move is unlikely to affect Russia’s decision making with regard to Crimea’s bid to join the Russian Federation. Russia’s stock market actually improved on the news that so few officials were included on the list. U.S. officials warned that, if Russia does go ahead with annexation of Crimea, additional penalties will follow, with more, harsher measures to come if Russia attempts to enter eastern Ukraine.

 Kremlin aides

Vladislav Surkov – An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.

Sergei Glazyev – An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.

 

Top government official

Dmitry Rogozin – An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.

 Russian lawmakers

Elena Mizulina – A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.

Leonid Slutsky – A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

Andrei Klishas – A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society. 

Valentina Matviyenko – The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.

Putin turns Obama into Jimmy Carter totally

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Henninger: Putin Carterizes Obama, Totally

The Democrats are vulnerable again on handling the world.

By

DANIEL HENNINGER


March 5, 2014 7:11 p.m. ET
Air-dropping himself into Kiev Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Russian seizure of Crimea is “not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior.” He said Mr. Putin should allow “international observers” to enter Crimea.International observers?This calls to mind Humphrey Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs facing the gang of Mexican bandidos in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”:Dobbs: “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”Chief bandido: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges!”We may assume Mr. Putin would say the masked Russians patrolling Ukrainian Crimea are “international observers.”As of this week, it’s official. Vladimir Putin has turned Barack Obama totally into Jimmy Carter.We may quibble over the timeline. Some might say it began when Mr. Obama whispered to then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev he’d have “more flexibility” after the 2012 election; others that it set in when the U.S. president took Mr. Putin’s offer to let Bashar Assad escape the bombing of his airfields for using WMD against his own people.

A Russian-style international observer at a Ukrainian air base in Crimea. Getty Images

“Carterization” has a specific meaning in American politics. In 1980, Ronald Reagan delivered an August speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Chicago, just as he was starting his campaign to unseat Jimmy Carter, trapped then in the Iranian hostage crisis.

“The response from the administration in Washington” to foreign threats, said Reagan, “has been one of weakness, inconsistency, vacillation and bluff.”

“Our allies are losing confidence in us, and our adversaries no longer respect us,” he said. Our partners “are confused by the lack of a coherent, principled policy from the Carter administration.”

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The characterization stuck, helped by Mr. Carter’s foreign adventures after his presidency. And in truth, Mr. Carter’s team included sterner ballast in Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Nothing similar exists today in the Obama administration.

The consequences of Mr. Obama’s Carterization overseas are coming so fast it’s hard to keep track. Ukraine, though important, is the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what else happened in the week Mr. Putin captured Crimea.

-Israel on Wednesday intercepted in the Red Sea an Iranian shipment to Gaza of dozens of Syrian-made surface-to-surface rockets. These are our new Iranian negotiating partners.

North Korea last Thursday test-fired four short-range ballistic missiles and another this Monday. Then on Tuesday it deployed a new multiple-rocket launcher that fired four missiles with enough range to hit American and South Korean military bases near Seoul.

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-In Moscow last Wednesday,Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia plans to use military bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua for its navy and to refuel strategic bombers.

-Three months ago, Secretary Kerry ostentatiously announced in a Washington speech, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” Naturally the Russians took this as a green light to return to one of the Soviet Union’s favorite playpens. The next day, a Russian spy ship, the Viktor Leonov SSV-175, slipped unannounced into Havana Harbor.

-Then this Wednesday, a news bulletin: “China announces 12.2% increase in military budget.” That boost comes within 24 hours of the Obama budget proposing a decline in U.S. defense spending.

This is all in one week!

Ah, one more thing happened. With Ukraine, in Vladimir Putin’s word “stabilized,” Mr. Obama went to Connecticut to campaign for an increase in the federal minimum wage and from there to Boston for a Democratic fundraiser. What, me worry?

Obama lip

Our allies have noticed. In December, Saudi Arabia separated itself from a decades-long alliance with the U.S. to arm the Syrian opposition because the Obama administration would not. That same month Vice President Joe Biden made a trip to Asia to reassure our allies there that the U.S. “pivot” to the Pacific is real. In February Secretary Kerry went to Asia to say it all again. This is unprecedented. Until now.

Democrats spent years trying to dig out from under the Carter foreign policy image and the blame-America-first Vietnam Syndrome. Because of the Obama determination to lead from behind—which is modern Democratic foreign-policy doctrine, not just one man’s whim—they are politically vulnerable again on handling the world.

But Hillary Clinton, who has managed never to articulate anything resembling a strategic vision, may get lucky. Because opinion polls say Americans have foreign-commitment fatigue (the actual number in the oft-cited Pew poll is 52%), Republicans have gone into a defensive crouch over the U.S.’s world role. Every prominent Republican commenting on Ukraine felt obliged to disavow military action. That disavowal is dangerous. Any Republican thinking of being a successful U.S. president should read that Chicago speech.

660-Carter.AP

A realistic hope for peace, Reagan said, is possible only if the U.S. maintains “the vital margin of safety.” The margin of safety wasn’t about public threats of war. It is about the marginal advantage gained when an adversary negotiating with a strong U.S. believed we might act militarily. If friends and foes conclude no one in the U.S. believes this in 2014, the margin of safety is gone.