Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has proposed imposing targeted sanctions against legal or natural persons from the U.S. He stated as much in an interview on the program “Vesti v Subbotu (Saturday News) with Sergey Brilev.” The government head also spoke out in favor of introducing liability in Russia for implementing American sanctions.

In a conversation with “Aktualnye Kommentarii,” economist and businessman Dmitry Potapenko, a member of the federal political council of the Party of Growth, assessed the prospects for such steps.

—This is the usual framing statement, which as of now contains no specifics. Dmitry Anatolyevich, as head of government, emphasized that we can in some way punish any American person or legal entity.* Only it remains to be seen – how? By the grace of God, they don’t have any dachas in Crimea or bank accounts at Sberbank.** And it’s we – not so much they – who are interested in the trade we have with them. We, Russia, do have the 13th largest economy in the world, but the U.S. has the number one economy. As they say, feel the difference. The difference is almost 30 times.

Who might suffer from liability for implementing U.S. sanctions in Russia? Anyone you like! In this case, the law is like an axle: You can turn it whichever way you please if you give it plenty of grease. It’s hard to say what’s behind this statement or what our citizens have to do with all of this. There isn’t a single sanction against the country, but there are sanctions against specific officials.

Right now, all statements about counter-sanctions are the subject of bargaining. Any politician’s rhetoric is like buying and selling in a bazaar. But the U.S. doesn’t care at all what our state Duma does. Do you know what’s going on with voting rights in Burkina Faso? The U.S. attitude about this is exactly the same.

Dmitry Potapenko also shared his opinion regarding the prime minister’s statements about transferring the issue of raising the retirement age to the legislative level.

—This year, they’re raising the retirement age for officials every six months. That is, as of now all officials and civil servants retire at age 61. They’ve rolled this out and now it’ll be implemented for ordinary citizens. So by 2020, I think we’ll be in step with officials – we’ll retire at 63.

*Editor’s note: The author is still referring to the current Russian prime minister, whose full name is Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev.

**Editor’s note: A dacha is a country house or cottage in Russia, typically used as a second or vacation home. Sberbank is a state-owned Russian banking and financial services company headquartered in Moscow.