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Aktualnie Kommentarii, Russia

Magnitsky Act Sanctions Russians,
Violates Presumption of Innocence

By Editorial

Translated By Sierra Perez-Sparks

06 December 2012

Edited by Daye Lee

Russia - Aktualnie Kommentarii - Original Article (Russian)

On Dec. 6, the U.S. Senate voted to adopt the so-called “Magnitsky Act” and to reverse the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Work on the new law had been expected to wrap up by Dec. 5. Discussion about the document in the upper house of Congress lasted for nearly five hours.

Political analyst, rector of Plekhanov Russian Economic University and member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation Sergei Markov believes that such heated debate can be attributed to the unprecedented extent to which the Magnitsky Act interferes in Russian affairs.

“It clearly violates the presumption of innocence,” Markov emphasized to Actual Comment.

“The Magnitsky Act applies sanctions on Russians. It interferes with our legal system and undermines our sovereignty. It violates the presumption of innocence and questions the integrity of our public servants. Also, President Barack Obama and his administration do not support this bill. The people driving this legislation forward are hyped up Russophobes.

"This act is expected to expand in breadth and depth. It easily allows for the addition of new countries and of other various affairs. Say, for example, someone were to speak out against American chicken thighs. Well, now, chicken thighs can be banned under the Magnitsky Act. The bill can be applied as the legislators wish.

"The Magnitsky Act is obviously an outrage, and the ideology behind its administration is clearly Russophobic. Needless to say, we do not like this. However, it's less harmful than the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. From this perspective, trading in the Jackson-Vanik Amendment for the Magnitsky Act is a positive development of events.

"Nevertheless, the Magnitsky Act is a flagrant anti-Russian attack, and we must respond. Yet, perhaps we do not want to, because a response could initiate a stupid, unending tit for tat. They pass the Magnitsky Act, we respond, they do likewise, and we respond again... This could go on indefinitely, or the situation could even escalate.

"How do we respond? We have a few options. Conventionally referred to as the Guantanamo Act, this response would involve passing measures to restrict entry to the country as well as access to accounts in Russian banks to those who are guilty of violating human rights at Guantanamo Bay. However, it is highly unlikely that any of these American perpetrators will travel to Russia.

"An alternative response would focus, instead, on imposing restrictions on entry into Russia for individuals in the U.S. administration who eagerly participated in the passing of the bill, including coauthors of the bill and others who promoted it. In my opinion, the appropriate response is the implementation of a program of policies that focuses on developing the Russian aviation industry. Twenty-five years ago, every third plane was of Russian manufacture. Over the last few decades, the Russian aviation business has in large part been destroyed by Western companies Boeing and Airbus, which have concentrated their efforts on eliminating Russian competitors in the military and civil aircraft engineering industry. In many ways, they have been successful.

"Now, we have slipped to fifth place. The fleet is aging. In the next 20 years, we will need to purchase 1,300 planes. An enormous amount of our money will go into real economic sectors. Boeing and Airbus are rubbing their hands in anticipation of this money. We need to tell them, 'No, guys. Once you act like that, we can’t trust you. And we cannot allow you to have something so valuable as an aircraft in our airspace. That is why we are going to buy our own planes.' This will be a real response. And it will earn us a tremendous amount of respect.

"If we make the decision to develop our aircraft engineering, our flight companies will prioritize building our own planes, and then there won’t be any interference in our foreign affairs."



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