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Comments by ARA leaders and activists on the release of the first Magnitsky List by U.S. Government

On April 12, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the public list of Russian nationals sanctioned under Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.  Below are some of the comments and reactions of members of ARA community:

“As a participant of the campaign for the Magnitsky Act, I share the feelings expressed by many, including a number of Russian democrats and members of U.S. Congress: the published list of persons sanctioned under the Act is better than nothing but rather unimpressive.  If its purpose is to change the behavior of the Russian officialdom, its impact is likely to be negligible.  But the decision made by the Administration in this regard reflects the underlying realities, including the weakness of the movement for change inside Russia and of its supporters among Russian-American voters.  Neither have been able to organize themselves and thus make a compelling case to the Administration and American society on why a more resolute implementation of the Magnitsky Act would be in the U.S. national interest and worth the risk of antagonizing its present government. It would be irrational for us here and counterproductive for the opposition in Russia to expect the U.S. Government to behave differently in this situation. Instead, those who aspire to lead the movement for change in Russia should do a thorough review of its strategies and tactics. Our Association can and should be one of the platforms for this dialogue in the Russian-American community.  In the meantime, we should continue to draw the attention of the U.S. government and public to the situation in Russia and do the best we can to help the people and organizations under attack.”

Dmitri Daniel Glinski, ARA co-chair of the Board (New York)


“The Obama Administration did show in fact a very symbolical support for the Magnitsky Act, literally neutralizing the work of all the Senators and Congressmen who worked on this Act to punish Russian criminals involved in the violent death of Sergei Magnitsky. Unfortunately, the list of only 18 officials out of 280 gives a green light to Russian corrupted officials to continue suppressing law and freedom in Russia. It looks like President Obama has chosen not to support the ideals of freedom and justice the way the U.S. did many years before, when it helped other nations to establish democracy and freedom. It is a pity to realize that the Administration did this in order to avoid the dissatisfaction of Putin, with his dictatorial behavior. We can only wish that the U.S. Government takes a more courageous and uncompromising stance when facing dictators.”

Dmitriy Grishin, ARA-Columbus, OH


“I believe that the Obama Administration has managed to withstand the strong pressure both from Russian officials (who warned it not to publish the “Magnitsky list”) and those who sought to have an excessively large list. President Obama’s balanced line will make the Magnitsky Act work more effectively than it would have been otherwise.”

Zhanna Reid, ARA Board Member (New Paltz, NY)


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