If you thought that feuds and shady backroom dealings with the Russian government were reserved for the United States, think again. The Great White North of the West (i.e. Canada) is fully capable of having sanction wars with the Great White North of the East (i.e. Russia) too. No shady backroom dealings that we’ve heard of yet, but who knows?
Russia announced today that they are blacklisting a ‘large number’ of unidentified Canadians in response to new the Canadian Magnitsky Act which sanctioned 30 Russian officials. The written response (given to Global News) from Russian spokesman Kirill Kalinin was exactly what you would expect from a Russian diplomat.
‘We can confirm that a large number of Canadian political actors pursuing a toxic Russophobic agenda were blacklisted,’ he wrote, ‘While retaining the sovereign right of disclosure, Russia will respond imminently and reciprocally in case the Canadian authorities continue playing silly and pointless ‘sanctions’ games.’
The Magnitsky Act was first put in place in the United States, but has since been adopted by several other countries. It creates sanctions against Russians in retaliation for the wrongful death of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer and auditor who discovered and investigated fraud and corruption in the Russian police department. When he went to expose the scandal, he was arrested by the Russian government and imprisoned without trial for 11 months. While he was in prison, he developed several ailments, was refused medical treatment and was beaten to death in 2009. The Act is meant to punish those who are thought to be responsible for Magnitsky’s death. It’s also the thing that Donald Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with that Russian lawyer was all about (that’s not actually relevant to Canada’s Act, but who doesn’t love all the Trump drama?).
The fact that the Russian government hasn’t made their blacklist of Canadians known, indicates to Vladimir Putin critics that it doesn’t exist yet; they are just threatening the concept. They also believe the country was caught off-guard by Canada’s sanctions (maybe because we’re supposed to just be the U.S.’s sweet younger sibling?). Looks like we’re showing Russia that we can hold our own too.