Putin calls Russia list ‘hostile’ as Dems decry no sanctions
Russian President Vladimir Putin described a list of his country’s officials and tycoons put together to comply with a U.S. sanctions law as a hostile and “stupid” move spearheaded by President Donald Trump’s political foes, but said Tuesday that the Kremlin would refrain from retaliating for now.
A continent away, Democrats in Washington lodged the opposite complaint, charging that Trump had let Putin off the hook. They chastised the president for declining to punish anyone under a part of the sanctions law that was intended to isolate Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors for Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
Putin’s reluctance to criticize Trump suggested the Russian leader still harbors hopes for normalizing ties with the U.S. At the same time, the blanket list of 210 names – a who’s who of Russian officialdom and business elite – could help him win re-election in March by fueling anti-Western sentiment.
Mixing sarcasm and scorn, Putin immediately struck that chord Tuesday, saying that the people the U.S. named control companies employing millions of Russians. The list has spooked rich Russians, who fear it could get them informally blacklisted in the global financial system. But Putin cast the action in Washington as a blow to ordinary people.
Yet in the U.S. capital, the so-called “Putin list” was greeted with a collective shrug – mocked by some after it was revealed that the Treasury Department had prepared it by simply copying and pasting Forbes’ list of Russians worth $1 billion or more.