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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Update: July 30, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
US Treasury Announces More Sanctions Against Russia and Its Allies In Ukraine

The United States Treasury has announced a new wave of sanctions against Russian individuals, companies, and state assets, and has passed an important sanctions advisory which effectively blocks almost all transactions between United States citizens and Crimea.

A statement on their website reads:

Today, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing an important Crimea Sanctions Advisory to highlight some of the practices that have been used to circumvent or evade U.S. sanctions involving the Crimea region of Ukraine (Crimea). Executive Order 13685, "Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine" prohibits virtually all direct and indirect transactions (including financial, trade, and other commercial transactions) by U.S. persons or within the United States to or from Crimea unless authorized by OFAC or exempted by statute. The evasive practices identified by OFAC include the omission or obfuscation of references to Crimea and locations within Crimea in documentation underlying transactions involving U.S. persons or the United States. U.S. persons and persons conducting business in or through the United States should be aware of these practices in order to implement appropriate controls, commensurate with their OFAC sanctions risk profile, to ensure compliance with their OFAC obligations.

In addition, OFAC has updated the Specially Designated Nationals List and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List.

There are some notable names on the list, including:

- several high-ranking employees of Kalashnikov Concern, the manufacturer of, among other things, the famous Russian assault rifle, as well as other weapons and vehicles.

- Andriy Klyuyev, the former head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration under Vikto Yanukovych and one of Ukraine's wealthiest men. Klyuyev's whereabouts are unknown.

- Petr (Peter) Kolbin, reputed mobster and business associate of Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko.

- Serhiy Kurchenko, founder of "Gas Ukraine" who, according to the Ukrainian government, owes more than $300 million to investors and taxpayers. He also disappeared when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last year.

- Roman Rotenberg, chief of marketing for the St. Petersburg hocket clud SKA and elder son of Boris Romanovich Rotenberg, Putin's Judo partner and business associate.

- Eduard Stavytsky, a fugitive and former Ukrainian politician.

- Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych, son of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych who now also lives in Russia.

The entire list can be read here.

Ukraine-related Designations; Sectoral Sanctions Identifications; Cote d'Ivoire Designation Removals; Issuance of an Important Crimea Sanctions Advisory

BANK BELVEB OJSC (a.k.a. BELVESHECONOMBANK OAO; a.k.a. BELVNESHECONOMBANK OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY), 29 Pobeditelei ave., Minsk 220004, Belarus; SWIFT/BIC BELB BY 2X; Website; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination - Subject to Directive 1; All offices worldwide; for more information on directives, please visit the following link: [UKRAINE-EO13662] (Linked To: VNESHECONOMBANK).

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Jul 30, 2015 23:07 (GMT)

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
RBC Journalist and 'People's Will Army' Activist Arrested

Aleksandr Sokolov, an opposition member and writer for (RosBiznesKonsulting), a critical online news service, has been arrested on charges of "founding a banned organization" and "advocating holding a referendum," reported. Yury Mukhin, the former editor of the newspaper Duel, as well as their supporter, Valery Parfyonov, were also arrested with Sokolov.

According to the case files presented in court, all three were charged with continuing the activity of the People's Will Army (AVN), a group banned as "extremist" by the Moscow City Court in 2010.

After the ban, the members changed their name to "Initiative Group to Hold a Referendum on Accountable Government" and began advocating a referendum on passing an amendment to the Constitution  and passage of a law "For Accountable Government"  to assess the track records of elected officials after the end of their terms, from the president to Duma deputies.

But the prosecution said their true goal was to "destabilize the political situation."

Using the standard formulas, prosecutor Natalya Talayeva asked the court to place all three in pre-trial detention for two months saying there was a risk that they would flee, pressure witnesses or destroy evidence.

Mukhin said the law on extremism doesn't including anything about holding referendums; "On the contrary, extremism is preventing the holding of a referendum," he commented in court. He asked that he not be sent to jail because he is a disabled pensioner; all three suspects ask that they be placed under house arrest.

The group, which does not appear to be armed, advocates direct responsibility to the public of elected official. One of the group's members is former Communist Party Politburo member Oleg Shenin. It has been active in dozens of Russian cities and has staged various pickets and rallies. In 2010, before they were banned, the group organized a "Day of Rage" to protest the government's actions.

In 2007, AVN's activist staged a protest outside the Russian government's building against  what they saw as raiders' take-overs of military-industrial enterprises. They were known for carrying signs "A Thief Should Sit in Prison, Not in Government." The group's members have also taken part in the nationalist "Russian March" and May 1st protests.

SOVA Center, an NGO which monitors extremist movements, said they were unable to find evidence that the group used violence.

- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick