Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Some of the names seem a little random

Readers of this blog may have noted that Russia has responded to the various sanctions imposed by the European Union and its member states (well, some of them) on individuals of that country by issuing a list of its own, though whether any of these people actually want to go to Russia is a moot point. We know that the members of the Russian elite desperately do want to come to the West, to bring their money here, to buy property, to do their fantastically extensive shopping, to send their children to British schools and American universities and so on.

The list is a little odd and one cannot help thinking that it was put together somewhat randomly. Some are in a position where they could have influenced decisions, though the influence wielded by the Toy Parliament's various committees is strictly limited; some may have made pronouncements; some are just known to hold negative views of the Russian government and President Putin himself.

Some remain incomprehensible. Nick Clegg? Why him? Has Andrew Robathan really been more active than some other MPs? As for Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the punishment seems a little harsh though he has made some public comments that might have displeased Vlad and his Chekists:
On 18 March 2014, during an interview with CBC Radio News, Rifkind spoke out against the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, stating that this risked destabilising the entire area and European politics in general. In his opinion Ukrainian forces had demonstrated "remarkable restraint" against Russian "humiliation", and had turned their military disadvantage into a substantial "moral advantage". While declaring "robust economic sanctions" to be the best response to Crimean situation, and describing a number of possible options, he nevertheless referred to the Western implementation as "pathetic", claiming that current measures affected a mere 23 individuals, and inferred this to be the reason why Russia seemed unfazed by sanction threats.
2015 has not been Sir Malcolm's year. Or, maybe, this will go some way towards rehabilitating him.

Not unexpectedly, Poland has the largest number on this honourable list with 18, with no-one else even close. Latvia and the UK have 9, Sweden and Estonia 8, which gives one some idea how much the Russians fear the the tiny Baltic countries.

The French group of 4 seems to be particularly odd: Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Former MEP, Greens group, Bruno Le Roux. MP and chairman of the Socialist, Radical, Citizen and Miscellaneous Left group at the French National Assembly, Bernard-Henri Levy, Public figure and Henri Malosse. President of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Astonishingly, they even found a Greek to ban: Theodore Margellos. Co-owner of the consulting firm Informed Judgment Partners.

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