Preparing the inner circle – what to expect from new US sanctions against Russia
The US Treasury Department will prepare a report on ‘individual sanctions against Russian oligarchs and officials by 1 February 2018.
A group of international experts formulated the criteria to select the ‘participants’ in the future ‘Kremlin report’, who may be waiting for their financial assets to be frozen or to be banned from entering the US.
The report should consider these individuals’ ties to Vladimir Putin, identify their involvement in corruption and estimate the size of their fortunes and sources of income.
Experts say that one of the signs of ‘proximity to the regime’ is involvement (open or hidden) in ‘aggressive (and illegal) actions of the Putin regime’. This includes ‘military aggression against Georgia and Ukraine’.
It’s assumed that the ‘Kremlin list’ will feature:
- Politicians, semi-governmental organizations, businessmen, and those responsible for aggressive, corrupt, or criminal acts;
- The inner circle of ‘Putin’s friends from St. Petersburg’ with whom he engaged in business in the early 1990s;
- ‘Golden children’ of the Russian elite;
- Putin’s personal friends, who act as ‘custodians’ for his ‘personal assets’;
- Big businessmen that have been benefiting from joint business with the Kremlin;
- Corrupt managers of state-owned companies who could have close ties to Putin;
- Leadership of parastatal companies owned by people marked in the previous category.
The report to Congress won’t have a direct legal effect. It must be reviewed by three committees in each branch: foreign affairs, finance and banking. The report will be open but may contain some classified parts.
The document will be prepared in secret to avoid any leaks in the American press. However, The Bell has named some potential figures of the ‘Kremlin Report’: Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Fridman, Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich.
What happens next depends on the Trump administration’s decisions.
Could Trump want to postpone or somehow sabotage the ‘Kremlin report’ about oligarchs and the ‘inner circle’ in order to avoid ruining already deteriorating relations with Moscow, thereby aggravate his already poor relationship with congress? Considering the ‘Russian theme’ across American media and within the Capitol, the president is unlikely to be given another round of criticism by legislators and press speculation about his ‘incomprehensible’ sympathy for Putin.