The Trump administration's decision to go after Russian leader Vladimir Putin's inner circle with sanctions is being praised as a long-awaited, highly significant response to the Kremlin's destabilizing activities.
Friday's sanctions targeted seven oligarchs (including Putin's son-in-law) and their companies, 17 senior Kremlin officials, and a state-owned weapons trading company, mostly pursuant to wide-ranging sanctions legislation passed last summer known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The move is likely to rile the Kremlin—potentially as much as the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which blacklisted Russian human rights violators.
That law was the result of lobbying efforts by Bill Browder, a financier and investor for whom Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky worked. Magnitsky died in a Moscow jail after exposing a $230 million tax fraud scheme involving Russian officials. Browder described Friday's sanctions as a "monumental development in the fight against Putin's impunity."
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