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U.S., European sanctions target Putin's inner circle

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By JULIE PACE

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"...as well as Arkady Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko, both lifelong Putin friends whose companies have amassed billions of dollars in government contracts."

"Also sanctioned: Bank Rossiya, a private bank that is owned by Yuri Kovalchuk, who is considered to be Putin’s banker."

This sounds something like what goes on in China where you can be a billionaire if you're connected to the right people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A major Russian objective is to seize the gas pipeline systems of its clients. The only source of legitimacy of Putin's authoritarian regime is high economic growth, and this is being challenged by the international community. Putin needs all the conflicts he can provoke to survive. Europe’s gas supply from Russia is highly unreliable. The European Union does not have elementary, real-time information about production, storage, and transportation of Russian gas.This gas supply is hostage to grand larceny of billions of dollars each year. Unlike other major piped gas supplies, this trade is not subject to any long-term agreements or pricing formulas, only annual ad hoc agreements. This situation is completely unacceptable for Europe’s energy security. The most amazing aspect of the current crisis is that the main victims, European customers, have been utterly passive. They have taken Russian assurances that gas deliveries would not be harmed at face value.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sfjp330, an excellent analysis. Want to punish Vlad? Become immune to his LNG extortion through energy independence. Sure, he will sell some of it to China &/or Japan, but not all of it and not soon as pipelines take time to build.

Furthermore, enough of this tit-for-tat bs. The Russians banned by the US will go elsewhere and NOBODY goes to Russia on vacation. Want to make them feel it? 1. Kick them out of the G-8. Why are they there anyway? Besides LNG what do they make besides Kalashnikovs and vodka? 2. Cancel the French contracts for amphibious landing ships. These contracts should not have been inked in the first place. Perhaps another buyer might be interested. Worst case: a consortium of nations takes over the contract, comps the French, scuttles the ships as an artificial reef. 3. Begin cutting off Ruusian access to the international banking system. We saw how this drove the North Koreans insane. Just think of what it would do to Russia's interconnected economy. 4. Announce a program to retrain and rearm Ukraine's military. Let's see how much Vladdie-boy likes a rejuvenated, modern army on his southern border (let's talk NATO and EU membership while we're at it). 5. (And this ones important) publicly, loudly, reiterate NATO's commitment to Article 5. An attack on one member (e.g. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) for any reason is an attack on the alliance requiring a military response. Vlad thinks (unfortunately w reason) that NATO is divided, weak, and scared. Let us relieve him of that misconception.

This is how to get vladimir's, and to a larger extent the Russian voter's attention. S-can their growth model, diplomatically isolate them, and do a Walter Sopchezk from Lebowski ("I'm talking a line in the sand , dude!") on them. Show Russian voters (I know Vlad cheated. That's the funny part. He'd have one anyway.) that if they want to be one of us, their govt. has to behave. If they want to be jerks, they'll have to sit at the little boys-table.

Talking and the reset haven't worked (& I'm an Obama voter). Time to show some spleen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Russians are right and western evil empires are wrong. Japan should build its image by being neutral and base its relation with all countries on merits of fair business practices. All off the east west and north south political tensions are useless waste of resources and human lives while we all know that it is all about money and power garbed by force and treachery rather than clean fair business arrangements. It is not generally Japans way of doing things and Japan should distance it self from the ways USA and Western Europe do their warmongering.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Wow, Obama is really turning up the heat on Russia. As punishment for militarily occupying a soverign country, annexing a population of milions, and nationalizing said country's energy resources, a dozen wealthy Russians are sanctioned in result? This weak, cowardly, and irresponsible response will only encourage Putin to behave more aggressively. Here is what happens when you elect a part-time "community organizer" to president...

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

What does the Chinese government have to say about all of this?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Wow, Obama is really turning up the heat on Russia."

I guess you didn't read this part:

"The U.S. has so far acted in conjunction with the European Union, Russia’s largest trading partner. The EU’s close economic ties with Russia gives its penalties more bite, but also leave the alliance more vulnerable if the Kremlin retaliates."

That means President Obama will only do as much as what the EU is willing to agree to.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The article expresses well the mainstream opinion regarding the crisis in Ukraine. However, in reality, there is no clear-cut view about it. The government of my home country (both EU and NATO member) says that the country is against any economical sanctions against Russia, because they will have a devastating effect on country's economy. It also acknowledged that such an opinion is not an isolated case in EU. Moreover, there are strong voices urging to focus on the causes (rather than the effect) of the crisis in Ukraine - the poor economy, corruption, poor human rights, severe deficit of democracy in the society, ethnic intolerance, and the fascist elements in the current government that contribute to the deepening of all these problems even further:

http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.fr/2014/03/ukraine-die-kernluge-von-der-legitimen.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the USA really wanted to play rough, instead of barrnig these diplomats, what they should do is when flights arrive from Russia with pregnant women who are 8 or 9 months along, just kindly put them on the next return flight back to Russia. That's because those who can afford to in Russia, have their pregnant women fly to America to give birht sense the child is automatically a US citizen, giving them an easy way to come to America to live.

Put that sanction into place, and a lot more of Putin supporters who have money would be more affected, and that would be a much bigger impact.

Also, stop the delays in the Keystone pipeline and start more exports of natural gas. Yes that will take a long time to take affect, but the fact that the USA will be a direct competitor to Russia in gas production would do more harm to their economy than just barring a few diplomats. But alas, the US will not do this.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

AlphaapeMar. 21, 2014 - 01:01PM JST

what they should do is when flights arrive from Russia with pregnant women who are 8 or 9 months along, just kindly put them on the next return flight back to Russia. That's because those who can afford to in Russia, have their pregnant women fly to America to give birht sense the child is automatically a US citizen, giving them an easy way to come to America to live.

Let me add more interesting fact to your story. Rich Chinese and Japanese women have been doing this over decades. They usually stay in the West Coast until babies are born to get US citizenship. US Justice and Immigration Departments should ban these bad practices altogether regardless. We cannot afford giving out welfare programs to these aliens.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Welfare programs are hardly generous in the states.

But I only slightly agree with amending the solely born on soil citizenship law which requires at least one parent to be a legal resident before the child can be considered an American.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

what they should do is when flights arrive from Russia with pregnant women who are 8 or 9 months along, just kindly put them on the next return flight back to Russia.

Yes. We should totally punish the little people in Russia for things they have no control over.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The focus on Putin is a slight-of-hand to distract from the will of the people, the people of the Crimea in their own self-determination.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Apparently the Chinese aren't going to bring any sanctions against Russia.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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