Imposing Sanctions on Russian Officials for the Alleged Poisoning of Alexey Navalny ‘Unacceptable’, Kremlin Says

The Kremlin has ridiculed the suggested creation of a ‘Navalny List’ that would impose more sanctions on Russians, following accusations that Moscow is responsible for the alleged poison attack on opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Russia Today writes.

On Saturday, the American conservative journalist Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times that the US should pass a ‘Navalny Act,’ similar to the 2012 Magnitsky Act, in order to punish Russian authorities for the poisoning of the political blogger.

“There are many absurd initiatives, both on the right and on the left,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, explaining that it is “unacceptable” to associate the Russian leadership with the alleged attack on Navalny.

According to Stephens, the proposal has been backed by vulture capitalist Bill Browder, who is wanted on criminal charges in Russia, who suggested that a long list of officials should be punished simultaneously by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, and Australia. Browder is best known for pushing governments worldwide to impose sanctions in retaliation for the death of Russian auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009, eight days before he was due to stand trial for alleged financial offenses.

Since Magnitsky’s death, Browder has courted politicians from all corners of the globe to punish those he deems responsible. In 2012, this prompted the US to adopt the Magnitsky Act, which allowed the US to sanction numerous Russian officials and businessmen over alleged human rights violations. Despite allegations that Browder has fabricated parts of the auditor’s story, which have been largely ignored by US/UK media, similar legislation has also been passed in Canada and Britain.

“It would be strange if a person like Browder, who is wanted by Russia for tax and other crimes, did not agree with such absurd proposals,” Peskov pointed out.

Navalny, a well-known protest leader and anti-corruption campaigner, was taken ill on August 20 during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, which was forced to land in the Siberian city of Omsk. After being taken to the hospital, Navalny’s associates asked that he be transferred for treatment in Germany. Two days later, he landed in Berlin, where on Monday he was described as steadily emerging from a medically induced a coma in that city’s Charité clinic. According to the German authorities, the opposition figure was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group.