Russia Update: US Treasury Announces More Sanctions Against Russia, Allies

July 30, 2015
Door to RBC.ru. Photo by Ekaterina Kuzmina

Aleksandr Sokolov, a journalist at RBC.ru (RosBiznesKonsulting), a critical online news service, and member of the “People’s Will Army” has been arrested on charges of “founding a banned organization” and “advocating holding a referendum,” along with two other activists.

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.

Special features:

‘I Was on Active Duty’: Interview with Captured GRU Officer Aleksandrov
Meet The Russian Fighters Building A Base Between Mariupol And Donetsk
‘There Was No Buk in Our Field’
With Cash and Conspiracy Theories, Russian Orthodox Philanthropist Malofeyev is Useful to the Kremlin

Russia This Week:

Is ‘Novorossiya’ Really Dead?
From Medal of Valor to Ubiquitous Propaganda Symbol: the History of the St. George Ribbon
What Happened to the Slow-Moving Coup?
Can We Be Satisfied with the Theory That Kadyrov Killed Nemtsov?
All the Strange Things Going On in Moscow

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UPDATES BELOW


US Treasury Announces More Sanctions Against Russia and Its Allies In Ukraine

The United States Treasury has announced a new wave of sanctions against Russian individuals, companies, and state assets, and has passed an important sanctions advisory which effectively blocks almost all transactions between United States citizens and Crimea.

A statement on their website reads:

Today, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing an important Crimea Sanctions Advisory to highlight some of the practices that have been used to circumvent or evade U.S. sanctions involving the Crimea region of Ukraine (Crimea). Executive Order 13685, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine” prohibits virtually all direct and indirect transactions (including financial, trade, and other commercial transactions) by U.S. persons or within the United States to or from Crimea unless authorized by OFAC or exempted by statute. The evasive practices identified by OFAC include the omission or obfuscation of references to Crimea and locations within Crimea in documentation underlying transactions involving U.S. persons or the United States. U.S. persons and persons conducting business in or through the United States should be aware of these practices in order to implement appropriate controls, commensurate with their OFAC sanctions risk profile, to ensure compliance with their OFAC obligations.

In addition, OFAC has updated the Specially Designated Nationals List and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List.

There are some notable names on the list, including:

– several high-ranking employees of Kalashnikov Concern, the manufacturer of, among other things, the famous Russian assault rifle, as well as other weapons and vehicles.

– Andriy Klyuyev, the former head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration under Vikto Yanukovych and one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men. Klyuyev’s whereabouts are unknown.

– Petr (Peter) Kolbin, reputed mobster and business associate of Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko.

– Serhiy Kurchenko, founder of “Gas Ukraine” who, according to the Ukrainian government, owes more than $300 million to investors and taxpayers. He also disappeared when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last year.

– Roman Rotenberg, chief of marketing for the St. Petersburg hocket clud SKA and elder son of Boris Romanovich Rotenberg, Putin’s Judo partner and business associate.

– Eduard Stavytsky, a fugitive and former Ukrainian politician.

– Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych, son of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych who now also lives in Russia.

The entire list can be read here.

Ukraine-related Designations; Sectoral Sanctions Identifications; Cote d'Ivoire Designation Removals; Issuance of an Important Crimea Sanctions Advisory

BANK BELVEB OJSC (a.k.a. BELVESHECONOMBANK OAO; a.k.a. BELVNESHECONOMBANK OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY), 29 Pobeditelei ave., Minsk 220004, Belarus; SWIFT/BIC BELB BY 2X; Website bveb.by; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 1; All offices worldwide; for more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662] (Linked To: VNESHECONOMBANK).

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Jul 30, 2015 23:07 (GMT)

James Miller

RBC Journalist and ‘People’s Will Army’ Activist Arrested

Aleksandr Sokolov, an opposition member and writer for RBC.ru
(RosBiznesKonsulting), a critical online news service, has been arrested
on charges of “founding a banned organization” and “advocating holding a
referendum,” RBC.ru reported. Yury Mukhin, the former editor of the newspaper Duel, as well as their supporter, Valery Parfyonov, were also arrested with Sokolov.

According to the case files presented in court, all three were charged with continuing the activity of the People’s Will Army (AVN), a group banned as “extremist” by the Moscow City Court in 2010.

After
the ban, the members changed their name to “Initiative Group to Hold a
Referendum on Accountable Government” and began advocating a referendum
on passing an amendment to the Constitution¬† and passage of a law “For
Accountable Government”¬† to assess the track records of elected
officials after the end of their terms, from the president to Duma
deputies.

But the prosecution said their true goal was to “destabilize the political situation.”

Using
the standard formulas, prosecutor Natalya Talayeva asked the court to
place all three in pre-trial detention for two months saying there was a
risk that they would flee, pressure witnesses or destroy evidence.

Mukhin
said the law on extremism doesn’t including anything about holding
referendums; “On the contrary, extremism is preventing the holding of a
referendum,” he commented in court. He asked that he not be sent to jail
because he is a disabled pensioner; all three suspects ask that they be
placed under house arrest.

The group, which does not appear to be armed, advocates direct
responsibility to the public of elected official. One of the group’s
members is former Communist Party Politburo member Oleg Shenin. It has
been active in dozens of Russian cities and has staged various pickets
and rallies. In 2010, before they were banned, the group organized a
“Day of Rage” to protest the government’s actions.

In 2007, AVN’s
activist staged a protest outside the Russian government’s building
against¬† what they saw as raiders’ take-overs of military-industrial
enterprises. They were known for carrying signs “A Thief Should Sit in
Prison, Not in Government.” The group’s members have also taken part in
the nationalist “Russian March” and May 1st protests.

SOVA Center, an
NGO which monitors extremist movements, said they were unable to find
evidence that the group used violence.

– Catherine A. Fitzpatrick