A piece of legislation, known as the Magnitsky Act, passed by large majorities in the US House and Senate, is apparently meant to target Russians allegedly guilty of offences under human rights violations. But that has drawn ire from Moscow, which has retaliated by saying that it too would bar Americans guilty of human rights violations from entering Russia and doing business. On the face value, it is tit-for-tat. But beneath the surface, something serious seems to be boiling. Apart from the exchange of accusations and slurs against each other, both the countries risk jeopardising their newfound covenant of cooperation in international relations, and that was widely witnessed as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov snubbed his American counand terpart Hillary Clinton in Dublin by saying that the US legislation is a “performance in the theatre of the absurd”.
Though the US bill normalises trade with Russia, at the same time it has introduced stringent curbs on personnel suspected of violating human rights. The issue is, however, unclear and that is as to how and under what criterion would Washington target Russian citizens, and how immune government personnel are from such a spotlight. The resolve on the part of the US to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russians listed under such assumptions is likely to kickstart another Cold War of sorts. One wonders what prompted the US lawmakers to take up this issue.
" The Americans and the Russians are once again at odds. This time over it’s all about human rights "
The strong-worded response from the Russian Foreign Office saying that the bill has been legislated by ‘politicians of the very state where in 21st century torture and kidnapping is officially legalised’ is too undiplomatic. The cooperation that Moscow and Washington were supposed to show while dealing with the Syrian crisis was likely to be the first victim of the ambitious legislation. Courtesy Khaleej times
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