Medvedev Says ‘Magnitsky Act’ Big Mistake of US Lawmakers

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – Linking the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment with the so-called “Magnitsky Act” is a big mistake of US lawmakers and it will result both in ‘symmetrical and asymmetrical’ reaction from Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

“We welcome that the US Congress finally gets rid of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which is a relict of the past. But we [Russia] absolutely do not like the fact that it is linked to another draft law,” Medvedev said in an interview with Kommersant business daily.

Earlier in the month, the US House of Representatives voted to approve a bill simultaneously repealing the Jackson-Vanik restrictions on trade with Russia dating back to 1974 and imposing new rules under the “Magnitsky Act,” aimed at punishing Russian officials deemed to have violated human rights.

“This is totally unacceptable for one country dictating its will to another country. This is a big mistake of American lawmakers as well as of the whole US establishment,” the Russian premier said.

Speaking on the new US legislature, Medvedev said that in any case it will result in “symmetrical and asymmetrical reaction from our country.”

The US Senate is expected to approve its own version of the bill before being sent to President Barack Obama for signing. Obama has opposed linking the Magnitsky Act to normalizing trade ties with Russia, but is expected to sign the legislation into law.

The Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act with amendments seeks to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the torture and death of a 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, as well as in other gross human rights abuses in Russia.

The U.S. State Department imposed visa bans on several dozen Russian officials in connection to the Magnitsky case in July 2011. In response, Russia has imposed travel bans on several U.S. officials.


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