Obama defies Putin, publishes list of 18 blacklisted Russians

The Treasury Department published a list of 18 alleged Russian human rights abusers on Friday, defying the Kremlin's threats of retaliation.

The list of Russians subject to financial and travel sanctions was required by legislation passed four months ago and named after a Russian whistleblower who died in custody. Russian officials warned that making the list public would inevitably cause “negative developments” in U.S.-Russian relations, and said they were ready to unveil their own register of 104 blacklisted U.S. officials — the so-called “Guantánamo List,” named after the Cuban prison where suspected terrorists are being held without charge.

“We have our differences with Russia. We make them clear,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. “Human rights is an issue that we have disagreements with them on at times, and, you know, we are very frank and candid about that.

"And we will engage with the Russians on those issues as well as the others that we have," he continued, "some of which allow for opportunities of cooperation that are important for the national security interests of the United States as well as for the security, in the case of North Korea, of that region of the world.”

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The list released Friday includes 16 people allegedly linked to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested for tax evasion after raising concerns about official corruption, but no high-ranking members of President Vladimir Putin's government. Another two are linked to murders in Chechnya. A smaller list of blacklisted Russians is being kept secret for “national security” considerations.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), the sponsor of the House bill, called the Treasury's list “timid.” He had given the Obama administration a list of 280 names compiled by Magnitsky's family.

“I view this list as an important first step toward holding egregious human rights violators accountable — preventing them from coming to the U.S. and using our financial networks,” he said in a statement. “While the list is timid and features more significant omissions than names, I was assured by Administration officials today that the investigation is ongoing, and further additions will be made to the list as new evidence comes to light. The fact that a name is not on the list does not mean that person is innocent.”

He vowed to “closely monitor” the administration's enforcement of the law.

“Sergei Magnitsky and others like him found the courage to stand up against a deeply corrupt Russian system,” he said. “Surely, the U.S. government can do the same.”

And Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Senate sponsor, said the "first batch" of names released was a "serious and historic first step." 

"With this concrete action we send more than just a symbolic message that gross violators of human rights in Russia, and around the world, cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act," Cardin said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the collaboration between Congress and the Obama Administration in implementing the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act to ensure that those who should be on this list are in fact on this list. I am pleased that the initial list includes officials who were involved at every stage of the death of Sergei Magnitsky, as well as other crimes. I am fully confident that this list, and future names that will be added, can stand up to international scrutiny."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a tough Putin critic, for his part said he was "deeply disappointed" by the short list.

"At a time when citizens and civil society groups are being denied justice across Russia, the United States has a responsibility to show our Russian friends and partners that there can still be accountability and consequences when basic human rights are violated," he said. "That’s why robust implementation of the Magnitsky Act is so critical and why today’s announcement is so damaging."

Congress demanded the law be passed as a condition for ending Cold War-era trade restrictions that would have put U.S. businesses at a disadvantage after Russia joined the World Trade Organization last summer. The White House has sought to weaken the legislation in order to prevent its already strained relationship with Russia from deteriorating further. After President Obama signed it into law in December, Russia responded by banning American families from adopting Russian children.

“I am pleased to see that this process has now begun and urge the Secretary to ensure that the names of all those involved in such crimes are made public,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement. “We must continue to aid oppressed peoples around the world who are struggling for freedom.”

Publication of the list comes just as National Security Adviser Tom Donilon prepares to travel to Moscow to discuss further cuts in the two countries' nuclear arsenals. His meetings with “senior Russian officials” on Sunday and Monday also aim to persuade the Kremlin to abandon its support for Syria's Bashar Assad and to continue working with the United States to force Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Donilon and his counterparts will “review next steps in our bilateral relationship, as well as a range of key foreign policy, security, and economic issues on our international agenda,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. “This visit offers an important opportunity to consult with senior officials ahead of President Obama’s meetings with President Putin later this year.”

Publication of the names of blacklisted Russians would “doom” Donilon's mission, a Russian official told the newspaper Kommersant.

Here is the full list:

Magnitsky Sanctions Listings

4/12/2013

​OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

Specially Designated Nationals List Update

 The Office of Foreign Assets Control has added the following names to the SDN list under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.  The newly added SDN list tag of [MAGNIT] corresponds to this new program.

 The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List:

BOGATIROV, Letscha (a.k.a. BOGATYREV, Lecha; a.k.a. BOGATYRYOV, Lecha); DOB 14 Mar 1975; POB Atschkoi, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

DROGANOV, Aleksey O.; DOB 11 Oct 1975; POB Lesnoi Settlement, Pushkin Area, Moscow Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

DUKUZOV, Kazbek; DOB 1974; POB Urus-Martan District, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

KARPOV, Pavel; DOB 27 Aug 1977; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

KHIMINA, Yelena; DOB 11 Sep 1953; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

KOMNOV, Dmitriy; DOB 17 May 1977; POB Kashira Region, Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

KRIVORUCHKO, Aleksey (a.k.a. KRIVORUCHKO, Alex; a.k.a. KRIVORUCHKO, Alexei); DOB 25 Aug 1977; POB Moscow Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

KUZNETSOV, Artem (a.k.a. KUZNETSOV, Artyom); DOB 28 Feb 1975; POB Baku, Azerbaijan (individual) [MAGNIT].

LOGUNOV, Oleg; DOB 04 Feb 1962; POB Irkutsk Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

PECHEGIN, Andrey I.; DOB 24 Sep 1965; POB Moscow Region, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

PODOPRIGOROV, Sergei G.; DOB 08 Jan 1974; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

PROKOPENKO, Ivan Pavlovitch; DOB 28 Sep 1973; POB Vinnitsa, Ukraine (individual) [MAGNIT].

SILCHENKO, Oleg F.; DOB 25 Jun 1977; POB Samarkand, Uzbekistan (individual) [MAGNIT].

STASHINA, Yelena (a.k.a. STASHINA, Elena; a.k.a. STASHINA, Helen); DOB 05 Nov 1963; POB Tomsk, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

STEPANOVA, Olga G.; DOB 29 Jul 1962; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

TOLCHINSKIY, Dmitri M. (a.k.a. TOLCHINSKY, Dmitry); DOB 11 May 1982; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

UKHNALYOVA, Svetlana (a.k.a. UKHNALEV, Svetlana; a.k.a. UKHNALEVA, Svetlana V.); DOB 14 Mar 1973; POB Moscow, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

VINOGRADOVA, Natalya V.; DOB 16 Jun 1973; POB Michurinsk, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].

—This report was originally published at 1:25 p.m. and last updated at 3:35 p.m.

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