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As you can read here, on 21 Dec. 2012 the Russian Parliament passed a law purportedly in response to an earlier law adopted by the USA.

The U.S. Magnitsky Act (signed into law on Dec. 14) will allow the USA to deny entry into the U.S. of Russian officials who are involved in human rights abuses.

The reality is that the Magnitsky Act is modeled upon the practice of the European Union, which routinely denies visas to those foreign government officials involved in human rights abuses. (I admit that  I’ve never heard of it being used vis a vis Russian officials – but plenty of Belorussian officials are denied visas.)

The Russian act on the other hand is, as always, out of proportion, to say the least.

  1. It bans all adoption by American parents of Russian children.
  2. As reported by Reuters, “The law also enables Russia to impose visa bans and asset freezes on U.S. citizens who have allegedly violated the rights of Russians abroad, and bars lobby and campaign groups from political activity if they receive U.S. funding.”

Russian children who live in state orphanages are in a world of hurt, but we can live with the ban: I never liked the idea, as it was just asking for trouble.

But the rest is, shall we say, par for the course. It is far, far more wide than the U.S. (and EU) laws: ANY U.S. citizens, and includes asset freezes, and also it will have , at the very least, a chilling effect upon all organizations working for change in Russia. “U.S. funding” will of course be understood as any money traceable to any U.S. source.

Note that anyone may act as an agent (and can be paid for it) of Russia or any other country in the USA. Thus, he may receive orders directly from a foreign government, and also may lobby, and it is all legal. He merely must register. (Some may remember when Pres. Carter’s brother got in trouble for this in re the Libyans.)

 

 

 

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