State Duma Speaker proposes criminal liability for abiding by US sanctions

State Duma Speaker proposes criminal liability for abiding by US sanctions
Vyacheslav Volodin Photo: RBC

The speaker of the State Duma advocated a ban on the execution of American sanctions on the territory of Russia. Criminal responsibility may be imposed for violation of this measure, Vyacheslav Volodin did not rule out.

Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the lower house of parliament, proposed to introduce a ban on the implementation of US sanctions in Russia. He expressed this initiative during a meeting with representatives of business and expert circles tackling the project on Moscow's retaliation for the US sanctions policy, the website of the State Duma says.

"It would be right to introduce measures of responsibility in relation to those who will be guided by anti-Russian decisions of foreign states in their activities on the territory of Russia," Volodin stated, stressing that for violating this initiative, in his opinion, it is necessary to introduce a certain system of punishments. In connection with this the speaker of the State Duma also did not rule out "the introduction of measures of criminal responsibility," the message of the lower house of parliament’s press service reads.

The bill on retaliatory measures for US sanctions against Russian businessmen, heads of state companies and enterprises was submitted to the State Duma on April 13. The authors of this document were Vyacheslav Volodin, Communist party Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov, as well as the leaders of all the Duma factions - the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Just Russia, United Russia and the Communist Party - Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Sergey Mironov, Sergey Neverov and Gennady Zyuganov respectively.

The initiative implies a ban or restrictions on the import of medicines, agricultural products, raw materials, food, as well as alcohol and tobacco products from the United States or countries that supported the anti-Russian restrictions. In addition, the deputies proposed limiting the activities of American auditors in Russia, as well as legal and consulting companies. Moreover, according to the initiative, Russian employers should be banned from hiring US citizens.

Furthermore, the bill implies the suspension of Russia's cooperation with the United States in the nuclear, aircraft and rocket-propulsion industries and establishes a "ban on admission or restriction of admission [to Russia] of technological equipment and software" from the States.

Russian parliamentarians then explained the need for such measures with "the protection of the rights and freedoms of Russians, as well as the interests" of the state after the introduction of new sanctions by the United States. The first reading of this document is scheduled for May 15 at the State Duma.

Last time the US Treasury extended sanctions against Russia on April 6. The black list then included such Russian businessmen and heads of state-owned companies as Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, Suleyman Kerimov, Andrey Kostin and Alexey Miller. Among the legal entities were En+ Group and UC Rusal of Deripaska. Investors' sale of securities of these companies on the first trading day after the introduction of sanctions, on April 9, dragged down the entire Russian stock market. The indices then plummeted by 8-11%. In total, in a day Russia's richest people, as Bloomberg later found out, have lost $16 billion.

Chairman of the government Dmitry Medvedev afterwards instructed to work out support measures for companies that fell under sanctions. Reciprocal measures, as the Prime Minister stressed at the time, are necessary, but must be developed the way they do not make a dent in the domestic economy.

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