World Russia threatens sanction retaliation, says US shouldn't "play with fire"
Navalny: Europeans will sanction the Kremlin, consultation with Washington
© Provided by Le Point E Europeans and Americans will consult on Monday in Brussels on the strategy against Russia and the EU is going for the first time activate its global human rights sanctions regime against the Kremlin, according to several member states.
Responding to the Biden administration'son Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry pledged retaliation on the principle of "reciprocity," though "not necessarily symmetrically."
That might sound like boring diplomatic jargon, but Vladimir Putin's regime has a specific motive for its reference to asymmetrical responses. This latest statement came from foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, but Russia's ambassador to the European Union used near exactly the same language, last week, when he warned the EU against new sanctions.
How to rethink Russia sanctions
The U.S. sanctions on Russia could benefit from some streamlining, but by and large its principles are clear and sound. The three main U.S. concerns should be to revive coordination with the EU, to greatly improve enforcement and to force Russia out of eastern Ukraine by threatening more sanctions. Right now, the United States should impose personal sanctions in defense of Navalny.Anders Aslund is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. His latest book is "Russia's Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy.
As, the intent of these asymmetrical references is the west's cultivated concern over possible retaliation in the intelligence and security, rather than diplomatic, domain. Disabusing any doubt as to Moscow's messaging intent, here, Zhakarova concluded her statement by warning Washington it should not "play with fire."
Put simply, Russians want Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan to read their statements and think, "They're going to come after us." It bears noting that foreign minister Sergey Lavrov matched Zhakrova's rhetoric, promising, "We will definitely react."
What does this mean in practise?
It's difficult to know. But considering hyper-aggressive Russian intelligence activity against U.S. diplomats abroad and in Russia, the threat of asymmetric action cannot be taken lightly. I would expect that U.S. diplomats will have to experience more than the usual amount of Russian furniture games in their Moscow apartments over the coming days. The Biden administration should not tolerate that activity, or any variation on the theme, if and when it occurs. The Obama administration's record in responding to this kind of activity was pathetic at best. Putin may wish to test whether Obama's Vice President will turn a similar blind eye now that he's in the Oval Office. Biden must be ready to show that the opposite is true.
Russia Accused of 'New Low' In Jehovah's Witnesses Crackdown After Woman, 69, Jailed
A court in Siberia sentenced mother and son Valentina Baranovskaya and Roman Baranovsky to two years and six years respectively.On Wednesday, a court in Abakan, in the Siberian region of Khakassia, sentenced Roman Baranovsky, 46, and his mother, Valentina Baranovskaya, to six years and two years respectively for taking part in the activities of a banned organisation, Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia said.
The Kremlin is referencing reciprocity? Fine. Let the U.S. apply that same rule back with interest. If the Kremlin wants to mess around with U.S. diplomats, the FBI should do the same to Russia's personnel in Washington. If the Russians want to launch cyber attacks, the U.S. should introduce Putin to some of its more boutique cyber-tools.
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Virginia parole board controversy escalates as whistleblower alleges retaliation .
A Virginia government employee who claims she was falsely accused of leaking documents to the media is seeking whistleblower protection after being put on administrative leave from her job with the Office of the State Inspector General. © Provided by Washington Examiner According to the lawsuit, whistleblower Jennifer Moschetti reported allegations of alleged criminal activity by the parole board. This includes allegations that former parole board chair Adrianne Bennett violated state law by asking colleagues to falsify a report and doctor board meeting minutes.