As has become quite apparent in recent weeks, a new law about to be passed by Congress has Russian officials nearly hysterical. Call it gallows humor – or call it foolhardy bravery – columnist Alexander Goltz of Russia’s Yezhednevniy Zhurnal has written this stinging bit of satire on the Kremlin’s reaction to the soon-to-be-passed Magnitsky Act. Goltz writes that the law, named after a lawyer who died in a Russian prison after uncovering massive Kremlin corruption, hits Russian officials where it hurts: in their wallets and American bank accounts.
For the opposition Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Alexander Goltz writes in part:
In response to the death in prison of a lawyer who uncovered an embezzlement scheme by bigwigs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Internal Revenue Service, the yanks are going to block respected people in law enforcement from entering the United States (which is not exactly a death sentence), and even (this is the worst part) freeze their accounts in American banks. That hits where it hurts. And then those skunks from Congress intend to expand the list to include anyone violating human rights. Hello, Mister Churov [election chief]! And you, Comrade Bastrykin [chief federal investigator]! Alexander Hinshtein, that incorruptible member of the Duma, says you have property outside the boundaries of our beautiful homeland. What if the NATO countries, which according to Putin have handed their sovereignty over to Washington, join in observing the Magnitsky list? Where will a lowly Russian politician go? China? Dubai? Don’t crack me up!
Those devious yanks are pressing the most sensitive spot for Russian grandees: money. Russian officials want to safeguard the millions they’ve swindled out of Russia. And, funnily enough, the safest place for the money is where all the silly things Putin hates – independent courts, rule of law, financial confidentiality – are taken seriously. There, all of the things we don’t give a damn about are considered holy.
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