US govt publishes 'Magnitsky list'

The US government has published the names of the people on the ‘Magnitsky List,’ despite warnings of counter-measures from Moscow and the risk of straining ties between the two countries.

The SDN list published on the US Treasury Department website includes the names 18 people from Russia and the CIS countries, who are blacklisted under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.

The law commonly known as the Magnitsky Act imposes visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergey Magnitsky and in other human rights abuses in the country. The 37-year-old Magnitsky died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in November 2009.

Russia will respond with an ‘anti-Magnitsky law’ in two days’ time, the Head of the State Duma International Relations Committee Aleksey Pushkov said on Friday, adding it will be “proportionate” to the US list.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that the timing of the publication of the US blacklist was extremely poorly chosen, considering forthcoming visit of the US National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon. Lavrov also told reporters that if the list is published, Russia would react accordingly, and that the US side is aware of this.

“In our response we will abide by the rules of parity. We will not publish anything substantially different in terms of the numbers [of names] published by the American side,” the Foreign Minister indicated.

Top Russian officials have repeatedly blasted the Magnistky Act as an attempt to subvert the laws of a sovereign country, and also to exploit a human tragedy for political ends.

Earlier reports said the list would include the names of the 16 Russian officials “directly responsible” for Magnitsky’s death according to the US version of events, as well as two other persons not connected to the Hermitage Capital case.

An original version of the ‘Magnitsky list’ included 60 names, with some proposing to extend it to some 280 blacklisted citizens of Russia. The latest – and the largest – variation was handed to the Obama administration by Congressman James P. McGovern, who threatened to lobby for a harsher law, should the White House shrink the document in question.