Monday, February 5, 2018

Kremlin Doesn’t Understand How Worried It Should Be about US List, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 5 – Many in Moscow were thrilled when the substitute “Kremlin list” was put out in Washington, but they were upbeat only because they did not understand the nature of the American political system and thus did not recognize how worried they should be in the future, Andrey Piontkovsky says.

            If the Russian elite understood the US system better, they would recognize it is more complicated and resilient than they imagine and that Vladimir Putin’s attack on that system in the 2016 American elections means that Congress and American people are not going to forget and forgive. They will remember and punish (

                The Congress displayed rare unanimity in passing the law that required the identification of Russian elites complicit in that attack and in related criminal activity, and its members are not going to be sidetracked by the substitute list or Russian efforts to suggest the US “needs” Russia to combat terrorism or contain North Korea – whatever the White House says.

            “In Moscow,” Piontkovsky continues, “they do not understand the full extent of the problem. It isn’t just about somehow the elite being split with some attaching themselves to Putin and others alienated from him.” Putin’s problem is far deeper than that because of the nature of his regime.

            He has remained in office for as long as he has primarily because “he was the guarantor of the money stolen” by the elites who not trusting Russian conditions have stashed perhaps as much as two trillion dollars abroad in banks, stocks, and property.  But now Putin isn’t in a position to play the role they all wanted him to play.

            “Today,” the Russian commentator points out, “the name of Putin and his actions not only do not serve as a guarantor of the preservation of this money but, on the contrary, threaten their security.” That is something they cannot accept, and they are now grasping at the straw that somehow the US won’t do anything.

            But anyone who knows about the American political system can be certain that “the secret part of the list” which documents who has stolen what and where he has put it “will be published. And when this happens and their assets begin to be frozen or confiscated, every member of the criminal community known as the Russian Authorities will ask the following question:”

            “Why do we need the man who has led us to this point?”

            Americans have never been all that principled in fighting corruption and they haven’t been able to get angry for long about the aggression of one country like Russia against its neighbors like Georgia and Ukraine. Had Putin left things at that, he and his thieving comrades in arms might have succeeded in avoiding disaster.

            But the Kremlin’s interference in the American elections “has changed the situation” and in fundamental ways.  By doing that, Putin “personally” has completely undermined the basis of his power; and he has ensured that the Americans will never forgive him for what he has done, however much fake news he and his friends put out.

            “Information of the last few days shows,” Piontkovsky says, “that the capitalization of the assets of the figures of the open list is falling, and this is connected with the fact that besides Section 241 about personal sanctions, in the very same law, there is a large section about secondary sanctions.”

            Those require as some in Moscow appear not to have remembered that “punishment awaits all companies who deal with the figures and structures under sanctions” from this list.  In short, the Russian commentator says, the dangers for Moscow have not passed as some imagine; they are both ahead and growing.

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