US Treasury’s List of Kremlin Ruling Elite carefully cloaked till report publication
The first list, which will later only expand, may include over 50 people, and if we count them with members of their families – up to 300.
The US Treasury Department is preparing to submit to Congress a detailed report on which high-level Russian officials and businessmen can be considered close to the authorities (the so-called Kremlin report) over the next two weeks. This is to happen, according to the signed law On Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, no later than January 29, 2018. The details of the report and the list of surnames that will feature in it are carefully hidden. However, Kommersant informs, referring to sources in US government agencies that do not directly work on the document, but are involved in the implementation of the policy concerning Russia, the list can include more than 50 people, and if taking into account their families’ members - up to 300.
That said, representatives of the Democratic Party fear that US President Donald Trump will be unwilling to apply sensitive measures to the Russians from the Kremlin report in order not to sour relations with Vladimir Putin for good. Western analysts also tend to believe that the publication of the report will not cause a prompt response.
"Getting on this list does not imply automatically imposed sanctions against these specific people. I believe the persons specified in this list will not immediately face operational consequences - for example, financial ones. Nevertheless, the very fact of making it into this list increases the risk that in the future sanctions will be imposed against the people mentioned. The law itself does not state that this report will form the basis of the new sanctions list. But I will not hide the fact that many members of the US Congress would like to use it in this way," said Daniel Fried, former chief coordinator of the US Department of State's sanctions policy, expert of the Washington Atlantic Council.
To factor into more decisive actions of the American authorities in regard to the representatives of the Russian elite from the list, Benjamin Cardin, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, democrat and ardent opponent of the Kremlin's actions, and his Congress colleagues prepared a report on Moscow's asymmetric attacks on "democratic governments and institutions."
August 4, 2017 saw US President Donald Trump signing the law on sanctions against Russia, proposed by US congressmen, which deals with the collection of data on key Russian political figures and oligarchs.
The US Treasury Department, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, must, not later than 180 days after the enactment of the law (by January 31, 2018), provide an open Report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian Federation to relevant congressional committees. It should provide information on key political figures in Russia and oligarchs; establish the scale of their fortune and sources of income; feature a list of their relatives, including spouses, children, parents, their assets, including investments, business interests, property that generates income; reveal foreign companies affiliated with these persons.
Russian special services have already recorded an unprecedented activity of US financial intelligence in European countries and a number of other states on the request of data on Russians.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, said that the US, through sanctions, wants to create rivalry between business and Putin, and what is more, they do it especially on the eve of presidential elections.
Russian oligarchs are already busy with getting rid of foreign assets or hiding them in more reliable off-shores. The Ministry of Finance has developed a mechanism for the return of capital to Russia through issuing special bank bonds, which will have yield above deposits in foreign currency, but still retain the anonymity of the acquirer.