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Russian senators undaunted by US, EU sanctions

March 18, 2014, 19:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Lawmakers say it is odd to see the attempts by the European community, which is professing democratic principles, to punish an individual, a certain senator, for his remarks

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Members of Russia's Federation Council

Members of Russia's Federation Council

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Members of the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament said they are not daunted by US and EU sanctions, yet regretted this decision by European and American politicians.

Member of the FC committee for federal system, regional policy, local self-rule and affairs of the North Nikolai Ryzhkov (Belgorod region) assured Itar-Tass that he was absolutely calm about his being blacklisted by the European Union.

“Firstly, I don't have any property abroad; never had any bank accounts abroad. Secondly, I never cared about going to Europe: I haven't travelled there for years and have no plans to go there in the nearest foreseeable future.”

First deputy chairman of the FC committee for procedures Oleg Panteleyev (Kurgan region) said he was glad to see his name on the EU black list.

“Thanks for noting my modest labor for the good of the Fatherland,” the senator told Itar-Tass. “Really, I'm very happy. In fact, I did everything for the Crimean situation to normalize. Yesterday was a holiday for me as I saw the majority of Russian and Crimean citizens jubilant.”

At the same time, the parliamentarian said it was odd to see the attempts by the European community, which is professing democratic principles, to punish an individual, a certain senator, for his remarks. “This does not go well with the democratic community where each can speak his mind and is not punished for it," Panteleyev said. "In this case, it is complete abuse of democratic principles existing in the world.

Earlier on Tuesday, FC Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said the announcement of sanctions against top Russian officials performing their state functions is an unprecedented decision; no such thing happened even during the “Cold War”. She told reporters she was not going to make excuses to anybody.

"If we call it like it is, it's political blackmail. The USA is well aware that I have no accounts, assets or property abroad. I never had any business abroad. This is why I regard these statements against me as attempts to put pressure on my principled position, making me change it," the FC speaker said.

Chairman of the FC committee on constitutional legislation and legal issues and Andrei Klishas, who found himself both on US and EU black lists, ironically noted that he did not mind being "in a company of respected people."

The black list composed by the USA includes presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential advisor Sergei Glazyev, head of the parliament committee for CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the parliament committee for family, women and children Yelena Mizulina, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, State Council speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement Viktor Medvedchuk and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The EU black list has 21 names, including 13 Russian citizens. Among the Russians are head of the FC committee on defense Viktor Ozerov, first deputy chairman of the FC committee on international affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov, deputy speaker of the State Duma Sergei Zheleznyak, head of the parliament committee on CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky, Black Sea Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko, head of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov and commander of the Southern Military District Alexander Galkin.

The people blacklisted by the EU are banned from entering the EU territory for six months. The EU will also freeze their assets if such are found in EU banks.

The European Council believes that these officials are personally responsible for the actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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