Voltaire Network

White House hits Russian parliamentarians with sanctions


17 March 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing economic sanctions against a dozen Russian and Crimean officials. [1]

The United States intends in this way to punish those responsible for the independence of the Crimea.

The list names two advisors to President Vladimir Putin (Vladislav Surkov and Sergey Glazyev) and a minister (Dmitry Rogozin), as well as four Russian parliament members Leonid Slutsky (Chairman of the CIS/Eurasia Integration Committee), Andrei Klishas (Head of the Constitutional Legislation Committee), Valentina Matviyenko (Chairperson of the Federation Council), Yelena Mizulina (MP).

The list also singles out two Ukrainian officials (Viktor Medvedchuk and the President of the Republic Viktor Yanukovych) and two from Crimea (Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov and Chairman of the Supreme Council Vladimir Konstantinov).

The independence of the Crimea is in full accordance with international law (UN Charter, resolutions 1514 (XV) and 2625 (XXV) of the UN General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Kosovo) but violates the Constitution of Ukraine. However, some Ukrainians consider that the Constitution is no longer in effect since the non-application of the 21 February 2014 Agreement and the coup that followed.

If, in a democracy, one were to admit that the executive of a State imposes sanctions against senior officials of another State to put pressure on the Executive of a third country, what cannot be understood is why the sanctions should target elected representatives of the people, who have not violated any international law, but only expressed dissenting views. According to the fact sheet attached to the Executive Order, the four Russian MP’s are indeed being penalized as elected representatives of the Russian people in favor of the annexation of Crimea and the president of the Ukrainian Republic in his capacity as the democratically elected president who called to Russia for help.

[1] “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine”, by Barack Obama, Voltaire Network, 17 March 2014.

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