Tags: Russia | moscow | putin | russia | murza

Poisoned Dissident Calls for Russian Sanctions

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Tuesday, 13 Oct 2015 08:14 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Less than five months after he lay in a coma brought on by poisoning, Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza called on the Obama administration to place sanctions on high-level figures in Moscow who are close to President Vladimir Putin himself.

Noticeably thinner than before his internationally-watched hospitalization in May and using a cane, filmmaker and author Kara-Murza, arguably the best-known opponent of the Putin regime, spoke in Washington Friday at a standing-room-only breakfast hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

“It will be very important symbolically to sanction Putin personally, as head of this regime,” Kara-Murza said to me on Oct. 9, “but it’s even more effective to do it around those state-connected oligarchs who are around him. All of them have reserve airfields — bases prepared in Western countries. That would be very effective to go after them.”

Kara-Murza, 34, is deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party and coordinator of Open Russia, the leading group promoting transparency and democracy in Russia. In May of this year, his collapse in his Moscow office and subsequent diagnosis as having been poisoned topped news stories worldwide

Coming weeks after the shooting death of fellow dissident Boris Nemtsov, Kara-Murza’s near-death experience prompted widespread speculation of foul play by the Putin regime.

On Friday, Kara-Murza recalled how December will mark the third anniversary of the enactment of the Magnitsky Act, the legislation through which President Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian nationals believed to have been involved in the mysterious death of Moscow lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

“There have been quite a few sanctioned under the Magnitsky law but unfortunately, they are all low-level operatives,” said Kara-Murza, “But not a single, high-profile, influential person in Putin’s circle has been targeted. And I think that was the intention of the law.

“The double standard at the heart of this regime is that they want to rule like an oppressive Third-World dictatorship inside of Russia, but they want to enjoy all the benefits the free world can offer, including the financial benefits. That has to stop. This idea is shared by a lot of people in Russia — that this has to stop.”

The dissident went on to cite one high-profile case outside the Magnitsky process: that of Mikhail Lesin, formerly head of Gazprom Media, which is the largest state-controlled media.

Lesin, Kara-Murza recalled, “had an investigation started against him by the FBI under the anti-money laundering and foreign corrupt practices acts. [This is] because it was found out he purchased some luxury real estate in California and the purpose of the investigation was to find out how — he was a state official. He had to resign after a few days in December.

“This is just one example of how effective this process can be if it’s applied properly [and] if it’s done against the right people.”

In making his case for sanctions against high-level officials in Russia, Kara-Murza stressed that they shouldn’t be called “sanctions against Russia” but “should be targeted sanctions against those who engage in internal repression and external aggression."

He added: “Sometimes too many Western leaders are careless with their language and they call them ‘sanctions against Russia’ and that is used by the propagandists. So as you step up the implementation, I think it’s very important to be very careful about the wording.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.





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Less than five months after he lay in a coma brought on by poisoning, Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza called on the Obama administration to place sanctions on high-level figures in Moscow.
moscow, putin, russia, murza
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2015-14-13
Tuesday, 13 Oct 2015 08:14 AM
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