Mikhail Khodorkovsky: The New US Sanctions List is a Warning

January 30, 2018

It turns out that Vladimir Putin isn’t the most unpredictable guy in town.

It’s obvious that the much anticipated “Kremlin report” was written up a little too mechanically. Mikhail Friedman next to Alisher Usmanov, Herman Gref alongside Andrey Kostin? The lobbying certainly didn’t help.

Although the fact that Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov was absent from the unclassified part of the list while Fedotov was included shows that it’s safer to be out in the public part.

This report is not a sanctions list, however, now any official — whether from the government or the private sector — will know that when the sanctions are eventually implemented they won’t be able to say that they were not warned about the risk. Believe me, that’s not a nice feeling. Not just for the individuals themselves, but for their families, their friends and other people who enjoy unusually close relations with them.

It also serves as an official, public request to collect all available information on these individuals, which is also not a very pleasant feeling.

Nevertheless, this list (or at least the part of it that has been unclassified) is just a warning for now. There are, as we know, three more steps: sanctions, arrest warrant and list of goals.

The reason behind this harsh reaction is obvious — the US presidential elections. Foreign policy current concerns around 6% of the American population. Only one tenth of this 6% actually spends time thinking seriously about Russian foreign policy. Therefore it seems that the American authorities could well turn a blind eye on Ukraine and Syria.

But when our idiots in the Kremlin started puffing themselves up, making out that they had successfully influenced the American elections (which is taken very seriously now in the US, as it could have a real impact on the government), I personally couldn’t believe it.

Like lowly street thugs playing the tough guy, pretending that they’ve got the local police chief under their thumb. Well, what did they expect? That he’ll just come out and negotiate? Well, in this case he didn’t even care to check whether he’d been swindled.

The Kremlin and its servants are now going to be discussing their new opportunities for consolidating society around a common enemy.

Although it’s hardly likely that an elderly person on a pension of 10,000 rubles will be able to view an official like Sechin — with his multimillion-dollar salary, his 100ft yacht and personal airport — as “one of their own”.

And maybe some of those on the list will be trying to avoid making an appearance on the next one.

However, we can make a few conclusions about Putin’s third term before we get excited about his fourth:

— The economy is stagnating while the world economy grows.

— The social sphere will see a fourth year of decline in incomes.

— In the sphere of foreign policy, Russians can look forward to further isolation on the world stage.

Perhaps it’s not for nothing that the Russian Constitution forbids a president from running for more than two terms?

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