Contribution of the Baltic States to the English -Speaking Version of ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’ and EU ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’. Ant This is not the End

The Eastern Balts together with United Kingdom (UK) and Canada were the first in the European Union (EU) to support the so-called ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’ that was adopted in the United States in December 2012 that is directed …

The Eastern Balts together with United Kingdom (UK) and Canada were the first in the European Union (EU) to support the so-called ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’ that was adopted in the United States in December 2012 that is directed against violators of human rights, which was approved in 2016 as a global one.
On 7 December the European Council (EC) finally got round and legitimized the sanction regime initiated by the Netherlands in 2018 against legal entities and natural persons that/who violate human rights. They can be imposed on those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, slavery, taking the law into own hands, sexual abuse, etc. The algorithm of imposition of sanctions is similar to the American one.
In the EU version of the law the family name of Sergei Magnitsky and particularly Russia are not mentioned, however functionaries of Brussels during the procedure of its approval called it non-officially ‘the European version of Magnitsky Law”. The British investor William Browder, who is fighting for approval of ‘Magnitsky law’ worldwide also uses this definition. The ambition of Brussels to punish those, who attempt on human rights should be quite modest (for instance, the law does not even mention corruption). However, the fact is not pleasant to Moscow, to put it mildly.
Here we have an association – a reminder to the text published here A List of Magnitsky‘and Contribution of the Baltic Nations to the Transparency in the Current Geopolitical Havoc‘.
16 November 2019 is a 10-year anniversary when Sergei Magnitsky, the auditor of the investment fund Hermitage Capital died in Matroskaya Tishina prison. The founder of the Fund William Browder where Sergei Magnitsky was working, during his interview on a sad occasion told that he immediately understood and still is convinced that the lawyer died because he was working for him, thus he contributed ten years for investigation in order to disclose the guilty and prosecute them.
Sergei Magnitsky was also the executive partner of the company Firestone Duncan that was auditing Hermitage Capital. Executive manager of the latter Jamison Firestone in the same interview remembered his colleague as hard-working professional believing in idealism specializing in law and justice in Russia. According to Jamison Firestone they used to talk about realities and to the question whether he is not afraid to disclose persons who kidnapped thousands of people he replied that now we live not in 1937; Russia is becoming a legal country, the president of which (at that time Dmitry Medvedev) is fighting against corruption. Idealism killed the author.
Since then Jamison Firestone and particularly William Broderick are trying to push consistently sanctions against corrupt persons and persons violating human rights not necessarily from Russia based on ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’. William Browder is convinced that someday monuments will be built for Sergei Magnitsky in his motherland, however he has no illusions to see justice now when the current regime is ruling in the Kremlin.
The response of Moscow to sanctions of ‘Sergei Magnitsky Law’ was specific, as always – adopted the law that prohibits people from the West to adopt Russian orphans (so-called ‘Dima Yakovlev Law”) as punishment of the West, after which adoption dropped ten times. The handicapped suffered most in this case, because Russian families avoid adopting them – contrary to the people from the West, who used to adopt half of the handicapped children of all the adopted children. A lot of children died in the child-care homes and never lived up to being adopted.
A coalition of three English-speaking and three Baltic States that looked quite fragile (since 2016) against corruption and geopolitical cynicism, still has survived. The EU joined it since last December – at least some kind of puff of fairness in the current geopolitical havoc.
After a rather shameful visit of a senior representative of the EU for foreign policy and security affairs Joseph Borrell with the politician of the opposition Alexei Navalny imprisoned by the Kremlin regime had to be happy meeting not named defenders of human rights and right after he arrived, he ‘received’ forwarding of diplomats of the member states of the EU – Germany, Sweden and Poland from Russia for purportedly participation in unsanctioned protests.
Jamison Borrell expressed his satisfaction with a favourable to the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in the scientific magazine The Lancet in Moscow, as if this will give basis to the European medicines agency for certification of the vaccine and using it in the Community. Well, then…
A member of the European Parliament from Poland Anna Fotyga already on the eve of Jamison Borrell voyage called it as a not a good idea that came to mind in a wrong time. It is planned to generalize the visit to the European Council (EC) only on 22 February. Only…
In the declaration published on 6 February several dozens of European politicians and experts (Lithuanians Emanuelis Zingeris and Linas Linkevičius signed it from the Lithuanian side) asked to make sanctions against the Kremlin stricter, to provide a more resolute assistance to Ukraine and Belarus and were categorically against final termination of construction of the pipeline Nord Stream-2 from Russia to Germany at the bed of the Baltic Sea.
As a mockery – on the same day the operator Nord Stream 2 of Nord Stream published an announcement that the Russian vessel Fortuna renewed pipe laying works in the Baltic Sea in the territorial waters of Denmark after almost a year and a half break because of the sanctions imposed by the USA.
On 25 January at the EC the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member states of the EU just managed to move the question of Alexei Navalny move from the end to the beginning of the meeting agenda. Only this much, although Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia encouraged to impose additional regime of sanctions on Moscow and regarding imprisonment of the politician and cruel suppression of protests in Russian cities.
In fact, it seems that most colleagues at various levels (even the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Luigi Di Maio representing a ‘5 star movement’ particularly loved by propagandists of the Kremlin) supported the Baltic nations and just that. The mechanism of additional sanctions against the Kremlin probably will move forward slowly as approval of the ‘European Sergei Magnitsky Law’.
Especially when the Minister of Foreign Affairs Heike Maas of the influential Germany encouraged not to hurry and give some time to the Kremlin. As if we had to wait for the judgment of Moscow court and see whether the regime will release Alexei Navalny from the prison after 30 days. It is already known, to tell the truth, eastern Europeans, first of all, Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine knew from the very beginning that everything was ‘in vain’.
Parliamentary Assembly of the EC during opening of the winter session on 27 January adopted ‘only’ the resolution proposed by the Austrian Stefan Schennach instead of sanctions proposed against Russia by 38 deputies from the Baltic States, Ukraine and Georgia. 107 members of the Assembly voted for it. The Assembly (previously the Monitoring Committee) rejected the amendment to the proposed document suggested by the Ukrainian Mariya Mezentseva, which would deprive the Russian delegation of authorities to destruct human rights and freedoms, persecution of Alexei Navalny, occupation of the lands of Ukraine. By the way, Mariya Mezetseva reminded members of the parliament that some members of the Russian delegations are from the annexed Crimea.
Authorities of the Russian delegation were suspended after aggression in 2014 against Ukraine. In the present resolution ‘nonetheless’ it is admitted that Moscow breached a lot of obligations to the EC in the area of human rights, to begin with. However, just this much.
The divide between the East and the West is still obvious in Europe in regard to the policy regarding Moscow. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, neighbours of Russia, traditionally talk about stricter sanctions against the Kremlin, the President of Poland Andrzej Duda in his interview to The Financial Times on 22 January against states violating human rights, called the only way of peaceful pressure of the civilized world.
The so-called ‘old’ Europe with Germany and France in the frontline, on the contrary, try to pursue a moderate policy. Although the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian called the dispersal of protests in Russia an unbearable escapade and testimony of further movement towards totalitarianism. Berlin and Paris are obviously avoiding escalation of relations with Moscow.
It does not matter which way you look, Eastern Europe and, first of all, Baltic States, Poland and Romania, also Ukraine and Georgia that support them more often and reliably now, remain the ‘political canaries’, which despite of everything, are strongly warning about the threat of collapse of the current geopolitical ‘shaft’ that does not lack manifestations of cynicism.
Arūnas Spraunius

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