Here’s a follow up on the Magnitsky visa denial story, in which we saw US Senator Benjamin Cardin personally petition Hillary Clinton for a visa ban for those involved in the death of the Hermitage lawyer whilst in prison last year. Today’s RFE/RL states that these concerns have been seconded and pushed even further by congressmen Jim McGovern, who would introduce an even more punitive element to the measures, in that the investments of those concerned would be frozen and any business ventures in the US impeded:
“I think people who are involved in serious human rights violations — at a minimum — should not be allowed to travel to the United States, and other countries should do the same thing. And we should be figuring out a way to make sure that their assets are frozen,” he said.
“People who commit murder, and I think that’s what happened in that case, should not have the right to travel here and invest in business here and make money here and there should be a consequence. If we can’t get the consequence to happen in Russia, well then maybe there’s something we can do here [and] maybe other nations can do the same thing,” McGovern said.
Many have argued that the US reset mode has meant too many concessions have been made to Russia and that censure of human rights violations has been tepid. Is it conceivable that this rather morecircuitous kind of ‘condemnation by sanction’ would be more palatable forthe Secretary of State, or perhaps more to the point, would it have anyeffect on the actual problem in Russia? It remains to be seen. Whilstany discussion/action on the issue is doubtless laudable, it seems toreflects a certain ‘out of sight, out of mind approach,’ in whichRussian lawlessness can flourish with impunity, as long as perpetrators stay on home soil.
As William Browder points out at the end of the article:
‘Sergei Magnitsky is one individual case. But it isone high-profile case where there are thousands and thousands of othercases just like it,’ Browder said.
Whether those involved in the death of Vera Trifonova would feel any sting from this kind of sanction remains to be seen.